Sleep Disorders Insomnia

Sleeping Well During the Holidays


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Summary & Participants

Anyone preparing holiday festivities knows that all that hustle and bustle can put a damper on a good night's sleep. Join experts as they share some helpful seasonal tips.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2009

Webcast Transcript


ANNOUNCER: The holidays are always an exciting time of the year. With them come family gatherings, food, presents and holiday cheer.

And for many, the stress of the season will also be a part of the package.

A package we all wish we could return.

GARY ZAMMIT, PhD: People are working hard, rushing to get through with their work so that they can go enjoy themselves. They're socializing, they're entertaining, they're out shopping.

SONIA ANCOLI-ISRAEL, PhD: There are lots of holiday parties that we get invited to, and we end up staying up late or the excitement of seeing family and friends that perhaps we haven't seen in a long time might make it harder for us to calm down and get quiet and fall asleep when we need to.

ANNOUNCER: Many of us are likely to travel during the holidays, disrupting our normal sleep schedule.

GARY ZAMMIT, PhD: People who are traveling by plane, traveling across multiple time zones might experience jet lag and that can result in daytime sleepiness.

ANNOUNCER: For most people the impact of the holidays on sleep will be short lived. But for those of us creatures still stirring at night, sleep can feel like it will never come.

SONIA ANCOLI-ISRAEL, PhD: Some people might have difficulty falling asleep when they first get into bed at night. Other people might have no trouble falling asleep, but they might find that they wake up multiple times during the night, and each time they wake up they have a hard time going back to sleep.

ANNOUNCER: No matter what the cause, sleep loss during the holidays can have consequences.

SONIA ANCOLI-ISRAEL, PhD: Relationships can become more difficult. It's harder to interact with family and friends because we're more irritable.

GARY ZAMMIT, PhD: Your cognitive or mental functions are not at peak, attention, memory, concentration, ability to stay on task.

ANNOUNCER: So what can you do to keep the spirit and get the sleep you need?

GARY ZAMMIT, PhD: Make sure that you set aside enough time to fulfill your basic sleep need. Get to bed on time; make sure that you allow yourself to sleep in long enough in the morning. And while, of course, you want to meet your deadlines at work, socialize and enjoy holiday parties, don't overdo it.

ANNOUNCER: And if you are having insomnia there are ways to improve your sleep.

SONIA ANCOLI-ISRAEL, PhD: We call these good sleep hygiene rules, and they can actually be used all year long, not just during the holidays. These would include, first of all, trying to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

Don't spend too much time in bed.

So if you want to sleep eight hours, you should only be in bed about eight and a half hours.

ANNOUNCER: And while a toast of eggnog sounds like a good idea, you may want to pace yourself.

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