Holiday Stress and Sleepless Nights

Holiday Stress and Sleepless Nights…..Feeling too stressed to sleep?

If so, here are some quick tips to give you that much needed rest!

By Pamela Durkin, ASID, LEED AP

<img src = "pix/holidaystressandsleeplessnights.jpg" alt="holiday stress and sleepless nights"

Can you believe it is December already? With all that has to happen normally and then add on Holiday parties, gift buying and In-Laws, this added stress can affect our sleeping patterns.  Our patience, creativity, ingenuity, confidence and leadership decisions can all be diminished because of a lack of sleep. Although insomnia can be a medical condition, sleep deprivation can be caused by the atmosphere in your bedroom.  If you are a lacking the needed Z’s, here are 7 easy ways to help you get back to the days of sleeping like a teenager or at least like you just took a swig of Nyquil!

Lighting: Dimming the lights about an hour before bed will tell your brain it’s time to shift into sleep mode, according to the National Sleep Foundation. A bedside or reading lamp is best to provide lower lighting levels and I recommend using 60-to-75-watt bulbs in lamps. Dimmers are best, but 3-way lamps also do the trick. Add blackout liners on draperies to prevent outside light from disrupting your sleep.

Temperature: We sleep best in about 65 degrees. A ceiling fan can help regulate temperature and also provides white noise, which is soothing for a restful sleep. Make sure it is balanced properly because nothing is worse than a creaking fan! Consider a wireless remote so if you need to adjust the setting so you do not need to get out of bed.

Keep it Clean: Get rid of clutter to give yourself some clarity of mind. Remember that at night, a messy bedroom will affect you. Even if you don’t see it, you know the clutter is there. Take that basket of laundry that you did not put away yet and move it out. Remove those guilt inducing items like desks and treadmills. This needs to be a place where you can relax and not be worried about that proposal you didn’t finish or run you didn’t do.

Sleepy colors: A serene and relaxing atmosphere uses quiet, muted colors. These colors are comforting and improve sleep and relaxation. Soft shades of blue and green are best for feeling cool and relaxed. They’re linked to reduced heart rate, lower blood pressure, slower respiration and constricted pupils—all conditions that signal it’s time to sleep.

Lose the electronics: Avoid distractions by removing all electronics from your room. I understand the craving for watching TV, using your laptop or having your smart phone in the bedroom, but believe me, they only make matters worse. As for your alarm clock, believe it or not, it can disrupt sleep. Good ‘old tried and true analog is best but if that’s not possible, get one that emits an amber instead of a blue light.

Bedding: Freshly linens can make sleeping much more pleasurable, next time consider adding a soothing fragrance like lavender or vanilla to them when washing. Top-of-the-line sheets are 100 percent Egyptian Cotton. Second best is 100 % Pima Cotton, or Supima. If a label says simply, “100 percent Cotton,” assume it is American Upland Cotton, a rougher, less expensive variety.

Mattresses and Pillows: As for whether or not to get a firm or soft mattress or pillow, use your body as a guide for what feels best through the night. The type and number of pillows you use depends in part on your sleeping position.

There is no strict rule about when to replace your mattress, but most have a lifespan of around 8 years. Check for worn or sagging spots in the middle or at the edges. You should rotate (and flip if possible) your mattress every 6 months.

Some people are restless at night and in order to combat constantly waking up your partner, consider two Twin beds instead of a King. When pushed together, two Twins create a King-Sized bed. This small separation can mean a world of difference when it comes to disturbing your partner if you tend to roll over a lot or have restless leg syndrome.

If you have allergies, they can have a serious impact on the way you sleep. Get mattress/pillow protectors that are made out of hypoallergenic materials. You are likely to find yourself sleeping a lot better and highly likely that you would stop suffering from those unpleasant itchy eyes and runny nose.

Give your pillows the same once-over for lumps and sags. When you sleep, your pillow should support your head and neck, allowing them to stay in a neutral position. Many doctors recommend replacing pillows every 2 years.

I hope these simple tips will help you get some better sleep over the Holidays. While I can’t eradicate your Mother-In-Law’s snarky remarks, I hope I can help you get the Zzzz’s you need to create a witty comeback!

Happy Holidays! All the best, Pam

About the Author:

<img src ="pix/pamdurkin.jpg" alt = "pam durkin"Pamela Durkin, ASID, LEED AP. A home in Naples represents so much to those who live in it. It’s a place to put your feet up and unwind from the hustle and bustle of life up “North”. Here you get to be your true self, reconnect with friends and family, where the pace is just a little bit slower and sweeter. Pamela loves working with busy entrepreneurs who call Naples their “home away from home.” Modern, tailored but comfortable are the hallmarks of all her designs.

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