Holiday Eating and Your Sleep: How to Have Better Sleep Quality This Holiday
Don’t let the holiday season have a negative impact on your sleep quality. As much as the holiday season is a time for joy and family, it can also be stressful. The increased events, shopping, and large meals can hurt your sleep quality. This can lead to overeating and other struggles with sleep.
Follow these eating tips and enjoy better sleep this holiday season.
Stop Saving Your Calories
People make the mistake of trying to save their calories. They hope that this will help them avoid overeating and stay within their designated calories allotment for the day. The problem is, it has the opposite effect. Sitting down to a meal when you are ravenous results in your making poor food choices and displaying a lower level of self-control. You will also experience cravings for carbs and sugars. Eating increased amounts of sweet potato casserole, desserts, mashed potatoes, and bread will cause your blood sugar to exponentially spike and then eventually crash just as hard.
Instead, eat small regular meals throughout the day to regulate your blood sugar and hunger. Focus on lean protein and high fiber so that you feel satiated.
Maintain Your Portions
It can be tempting to overindulge when you have a large and impressive spread of food in front of you. Holiday meals have more courses and sides than a typical weeknight meal. As a result, you may feel tempted to eat more than you typically would in a single sitting. Resist the urge to pile your plate high with large portions of everything.
Maintaining portions can be difficult when everything tastes so good, and there are dishes that you only get once a year. However, larger meals are harder for your body to digest. When your body works harder on digestion, it struggles with other tasks, like sleeping. A typical meal can take the body eight to twelve hours to digest. Meaning your body finishes digesting right around it's time to get up, never giving your body a chance to get restful sleep.
Make Smart Drink Choices
Enjoying an after-dinner or late-night drink may seem like an effective way to relax and get ready for bed. However, a few hours after consumption, alcohol has the opposite effect. It also prevents your body from achieving a deep sleep cycle, which is required to wake up feeling well-rested. The caffeine in soda, tea, and coffee has a similar effect on your body because it’s a stimulant.
Maintain your Sleep Schedule
When your body is tired from lack of sleep, it craves energy through food. Sleep munchies are real, and you’ll find yourself mindlessly snacking as your body attempts to supplement the lack of sleep with food energy. You can prevent this by getting a full night’s sleep in the days leading up to the big meal.
Set your bedroom up for ideal sleep quality with blackout curtains on the windows to make the room dark. Replace your worn-out pillow with one that’s breathable and supportive for your head and neck. Switch out your scratchy or pilled sheets with soft organic cotton sheets that will feel silky soft against your skin. Trade out your lightweight summer comforter with one that’s warmer for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter. A down alternative comforter is perfect because it will keep you warm yet still be breathable to keep you comfortable. Add a decorative fleece throw across the foot of the bed for optional added warmth if you need it.
If you know you will be sitting down to a large meal, try to do it earlier in the day. Eating earlier gives your body a few hours to start the digestion process before you lay down to sleep. You’ll be more likely to have a restful night’s sleep as your body finishes digestion while you are settling in for the night.
Laying down immediately after eating yourself until full can put you at greater risk of experiencing heartburn. A better option is to take a post-dinner walk to promote better digestion and help regulate your blood sugar.
Listen to Your Stomach
Slow down and take your time eating your meal. This gives you more time to enjoy the delicious food and gives you a chance to listen to your stomach. It takes your body about 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your body to signal that your stomach is full.
Overeating puts unnecessary stress on your body that can make other activities like sleeping more difficult. It also makes you feel physically uncomfortable with unpleasant side effects like bloating, indigestion, gas, and gallbladder pain. You won’t be able to sleep better when suffering from these other issues.
Be Ready This Holiday Season
Prepare yourself for this holiday season by maintaining your sleep schedule, eating regular meals, avoiding late-night caffeine and alcohol, and listening to your body. With the right plan in place, you’ll stay well-rested and ready for the main holiday gatherings and events.
Outfit your bed with breathable bedding to create the perfect sleeping environment for this holiday season.