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Updated: Dec 19, 2019

Between finding the perfect gift, meeting end-of-year deadlines, and entertaining guests, the holidays can quickly become a time of late nights and high stress. And one thing that suffers is sleep. So how can you get enough sleep this season and ensure the kids get enough rest too? Follow the tips below by Tiofelo Lee-Chiong, a professor of medicine at Colorado Denver School of medicine.

Remind yourself why sleep is important

You won’t be able to enjoy this season’s shopping, cooking and cocktail-party mingling if you’re running on a poor night’s sleep. In fact, your body probably needs more rest than usual so you are extra-efficient in the upcoming weeks. “It’s important to keep in mind that sleeping will markedly improve your work performance, interpersonal interactions and general sense of well-being – worthy goals for the holiday season and start of the new year.”

Don’t take stress to bed with you

It’s not uncommon to become anxious before bed, especially when tomorrow’s schedule feels daunting. To keep your mind from racing when falling asleep, jot down a to-do list before heading for bed and relax with a book or calming bed-time ritual. “As much as possible disengage from electronic devices, including television, phone and the internet to ensure an easier time falling asleep.”

Avoid drinking too much close to bedtime

This time of year is filled with drinking and partying, but alcohol can wreak havoc on a good night’s sleep. Try to stick to the one-hour rule: allow for at least one hour after one glass of wine, one shot of whiskey or one beer before a planned bedtime. Also avoid caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime.

Turn off the holiday lights

Between visits from friends and family members, it’s easy for the kids’ bedtimes to get pushed later than normal. Parents can help their children stick to a regular schedule by following one themselves. But there’s something else, which might help. “In preparation for bedtime, consider turning off all the holiday lights in the house at bedtime – this sets the tone that the day’s merriment has ended.”

Follow the “3” rule with naps

If getting a full night of sleep feels impossible, taking a nap (if done right), may not be a bad idea. While habitual napping shouldn’t be substituted for nighttime sleep, short naps can improve alertness and be beneficial for your health. “Try to follow the “3” rule…not longer than 30 minutes and not later than 3 o’clock in the afternoon.”

By Grace Elkus

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