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It’s easy to lose sleep over the holidays—what with all of the parties, shopping, entertaining, and traveling. But too little sleep will leave you feeling tired, cranky, and stressed. That’s no way to spend the holidays! Here are 6 steps to help keep your sleep on track.

  1. When it comes to alcohol, be moderate. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy at first. But, a few hours later, the alcohol level in your blood starts to fall. This can make you wake up. Alcohol can affect your sleep for about 2 hours for each drink. So avoid alcohol close to bedtime and drink only in moderation.
  2. Make healthy choices with holiday foods. Rich and spicy foods may disrupt your sleep. They can also make you feel full and uncomfortable. And they may cause heart burn or acid reflux. Food and drinks with sugar may act as stimulants, making it hard to sleep. So watch what you eat in the evening.
  3. Keep an eye on your caffeine intake. Caffeine wakes you up and makes you more alert. And the effects of caffeine can last 6 hours or more. So avoid caffeine several hours before going to sleep. This includes caffeinated coffee and sodas; certain kinds of tea; and even some foods, like chocolate.
  4. Leave time to unwind before going to bed. Doing something relaxing before bed can be a great way to calm down and unwind. It’s a good way to signal your body it’s time to sleep. Taking a warm bath is a great example. A warm bath can relax your muscles and make you sleepy.
  5. Don’t forget about fitness. When you exercise, your body temperature rises, and then it falls a few hours later. This can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. For the best results, try working out 3 — 6 hours before bed. This will give your body temperature enough time to drop before bedtime.
  6. Stick to a regular sleep schedule and nap wisely. You may be tempted to catch up on sleep over the holidays. But it’s best to go to sleep and wake up at your usual time. And if you need to nap, keep it short—no more than 20 – 30 minutes, and no later than 3 p.m. This can help you keep your sleep on track.

Sleep plays an important role in your health and well-being. Too little sleep can weaken your immune system and may you more likely to get sick. And too little sleep can affect your mood, making you feel irritable and out of sorts. So this holiday season, give yourself the gift of a good night’s sleep.