THE BLOG

Don't Be a Sleep Scrooge This Christmas

12/09/2014 08:21 EST | Updated 02/08/2015 05:59 EST
coloroftime via Getty Images

As parents we are often concerned with our children's sleep during the holidays but about what about our own? With all the hustle and bustle of the festivities, protecting our own sleep patterns tends to fall by the wayside. This holiday season, here are a few tips that can help you take care of yourself as well.

Let's Start at the Beginning

Before a busy holiday or travel adventure it's always best to focus on your sleep. Practicing a lifestyle of proper sleep hygiene and always meeting your basal sleep needs is important and will allow you to enter these busy times as well rested as possible. Set your sleep pattern and stick to it by going to bed and waking up around the same time each day to keep your body clock in line. When we align our sleep times with our natural sleep rhythms and internal 24-hour biological clock we are able to achieve the best restorative sleep possible and, consequently, going to bed and waking up become easier.

Did You Know?

Falling asleep too quickly (within five minutes of going to bed) or taking too long to fall asleep (anything more than 20 minutes) is a telltale sign that you are sleep deprived? Give yourself a curfew! Only choose a few nights during the holidays to stay up late. And remember, every hour of lost sleep takes 24 hours to make up.

Don't Forget to Pack Your Bedtime Routine

When going away, it's important that you bring your bedtime routine and sleeping essentials to help transfer the comforts of home to a new environment. Throwing your eye mask, white noise machine, ear plugs, or favourite bedtime book into your overnight bag will help make an unfamiliar sleep space more comfortable and secure for you and will help ensure a restful night's sleep.

Travel Sleep Tip: Make Sure to Plan Ahead!

When booking your hotel room think carefully about what type of room you need. If travelling with family try to book a suite with an adjoining room. This way you can get the children to bed without hiding out in the bathroom for the remainder of the evening. Everyone can sleep peacefully in his or her own environment.

Limit Caffeine, Nicotine and Alcohol

I know, I know it's the holidays and where's the fun in that? But coffee, tea, soda, and nicotine often act as a stimulant, which will keep you awake. While alcohol can help you doze off initially it can cause more fragmented sleep throughout the night. Know your limits and stick to them.

Sweet Table Tip: Eat Smart

Try to fill up more on the healthier snacks before the dessert buffet comes out so the impulse isn't there to load your plate with too many chocolate and cookies.

Turn off Tech and Keep it Out of The Bedroom

If you were on the "Nice List" and Santa gave you some new electronics for Christmas it's important to make sure you give yourself a tech curfew and turn off all brightly lit screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Too many stimulating activities before bedtime can turn your sleep switch off and make it difficult for you to fall asleep.

Make it a New Years Resolution!

Create a family docking station in a main room in your home where everyone can plug in at night and keep electronics out of the bedrooms. Practicing this simple task will help ensure better sleep for your entire family.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site.

MORE ON HUFFPOST:

  • Charging Station
    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Charging-Organizer-Smartphones-Universal-Compatibility/dp/B009CFMO0S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417710127&sr=8-1&keywords=great+useful+stuff" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>
    Keeping technology out of the bedroom is one of the foremost rules of good sleep hygiene. Help the gadget-lover in your life maintain his or her sleep sanctuary with this convenient charging station for the kitchen or living room.

    $35, Amazon.com
  • Analog Alarm Clock
    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/iCasso-Non-ticking-Silent-Quartz-Vintage/dp/B00MPGLDTE/ref=sr_1_36?ie=UTF8&qid=1417710114&sr=8-36&keywords=vintage+alarm+clock" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>
    One of the most common arguments against keeping the bedroom device-free is that so many of us now rely on our smartphones to beep and buzz us awake as our morning alarms. Stop the madness by gifting an analog alarm clock -- there are so many fun, vintage styles to choose from!

    $17.99, Amazon.com
  • Eye Mask
    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Zone--Earth-Therapeutics-Sleep/dp/B000JE2C9Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417710370&sr=8-1&keywords=dream+zone+sleep+mask" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>
    Sleep experts agree that the ideal bedroom setup is cool, quiet and dark -- but not everyone has the luxury of all-powerful blackout shades. Give a light sleeper a cushiony, adjustable eye mask to help them slumber longer.

    $6.72, Amazon.com
  • Ostrich Pillow
    Ostrich Pillow
    If you know someone who could use an afternoon nap (and can pull one off without making the boss mad), surprise them with the Ostrich Pillow. Not only does it block light and include convenient pockets for desktop resting, it's also sturdy enough to support sleeping sitting up.

    $99, OstrichPillow.com
  • Pajamas
    Russ Elloway for PLFdreams.com
    As HuffPost Chair, President and Editor-In-Chief Arianna Huffington says, sleeping in your gym clothes doesn't prep your body for sleep, it preps your body for the gym. If someone on your list is chronically slumbering in sweats, pick them up something a little more luxurious.

    Prices vary, PLFdreams.com
  • Tea
    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Teavana-Tranquil-Dream-Loose-Leaf-Herbal/dp/B007FRDXMI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417709959&sr=8-2&keywords=teavana+sleep" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>
    The mere ritual of sipping a cup of (caffeine-free!) tea can do wonders to relax a racing mind before bed. But the right kind of tea, like lavender and chamomile, may even lead to more and better sleep.

    $27.92, Amazon.com
  • Sunrise-Simulating Alarm Clock
    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Philips-HF3520-Wake-Up-Colored-Simulation/dp/B0093162RM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417645476&sr=8-1&keywords=philips+wake-up+light+hf3550" target="_blank">Amazon.com</a>
    This alarm clock wakes users up gently, by slowly increasing the amount of light it shines into the room, which can lead to a more pleasant early-a.m. experience.

    $139.99, Amazon.com
  • White Noise Machine
    <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Brookstone-Tranquil-Moments-Advanced-Sounds/dp/B005OQWMQ0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1417710023&sr=8-2&keywords=tranquil+moments+sleep+sound+therapy+system" target="_blank">
    Whether it's to drown our honking horns outside or simply to make all-encompassing silence a little more comfortable, a white noise machine can be the answer for light sleepers. And with 16 sound options, this model has something for everyone.

    $169.99, Amazon.com