Sleep helps our bodies in countless ways.

With the holidays comes a lot of hustle and bustle. From holiday concerts and church programs to cooking holiday meals and baking delicious treats, it can seem like there isn’t enough time in the day. And when this happens, our need for sleep can get pushed to the wayside. But sleep helps our bodies in so many ways that this lack of rest can have some pretty negative consequences.

Sleep is a vital bodily function. It allows our bodies and minds to recharge after a long day, helps us feel alert and refreshed when we wake up, and helps us stay healthy so we can ward off illness. To put it simply, without adequate rest there comes a point where we can no longer function. So this holiday season, take steps to ensure that your body is getting enough rest. Doing so will help you better enjoy the holidays and be fully present, soaking up all that quality time with loved ones.

Check out these tips to help you get your best sleep during the holidays.

If you need some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep this holiday season, don’t worry. We have you covered! By following these suggestions, you’ll be sure to feel well rested and to experience the benefits that sleep helps provide to your brain and body.

1. Be prepared for less daylight during the winter months.

During the winter, Earth travels to the other side of the sun, leaving less daylight. This can throw off our circadian rhythm, especially if we get up when it is dark outside and it gets dark before we even sit down for dinner with our families. To ease this challenge, be sure to open your blinds first thing in the morning to let that daylight in as soon as it arrives. Further, remember that light triggers your brain to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin. Therefore, giving yourself as much sunlight exposure as possible can help you motivate that internal clock. For this same reason, make sure your daytime workspace is nice and bright.

2. Allow yourself a cup of coffee or two in the morning.

As adults, sometimes we need caffeine to help us get through our day. So go ahead and allow yourself morning coffee. But be sure to cut off the caffeine consumption around lunchtime so that your body can work through what you have put into your system. And because coffee can stain your teeth, consider brushing your teeth after lunch to remove leftover food particles and to lessen the risk of tooth discoloration.

3. Indulge in some stress-relieving snacks after dinner.

As bedtime approaches, your body needs to wind down and prepare for sleep. Going from running around the house cooking, cleaning, and caring for the kids to immediately trying to hit the hay afterward might be too abrupt for your body. Though any sleep is better than none, you can help yourself fall asleep faster and for longer by giving your body some time to transition. During this pre-bedtime rest, snack on a handful of almonds or a sliced kiwi. Other foods and beverages that can help you sleep include chamomile tea, passion fruit tea, slices of fatty fish, and white rice. And don’t forget to brush your teeth before you put your head on that pillow.

4. Practice some relaxation techniques.

Many adults can benefit from practicing relaxation techniques before bed. So try a relaxation technique for better sleep, such as deep breathing, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, or other doctor- or dentist-recommended technique. There are many meditation apps available  for mobile download to help with this too. Some of our favorite apps include Peloton, Calm, and Noom.

5. Be aware of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

If you are doing all the right things and trying to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night but are still waking up feeling unrested, then you might consider checking to see if you have some sort of sleep disorder. Restless leg syndrome, insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and even snoring can get in the way of needed rest. So if you feel tired each day despite thinking you got enough sleep, you may want to pay a visit to your family physician or dentist. Your dentist can help with sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching during sleep).

Sleep helps keep your body strong.

The holidays can leave us feeling more tired than ever. Fatigue isn’t good for us, and sleep helps with far more bodily functions than we might realize. That’s why adults need to get ahead of the problem by incorporating some stress-relieving practices now.  So take some time for yourself and try some of the tips we have suggested. And if you have identified that you are snoring at night, grinding your teeth, or might have sleep apnea, pay a visit to your family dentist. If you are located in or near Ada, Oklahoma, give Ada Smile Place a call or request an appointment online. We’re ready and able to help you get a better night’s sleep this holiday season.