Rethink that late-night wine: 3 tips to get good sleep during the holidays

Put the phone down and try a book instead

Holiday sleep habits

Illustration by Wenkai Mao

Want to make the holidays less stressful? Get more sleep. During the season of house guests, travel, late-night gift-wrapping sessions, office parties, and after-hours snacking and drinking, sleep can suffer, says Anne D. Bartolucci, a sleep-disorder specialist at Atlanta Insomnia and Behavioral Health Services.

“People often let their good habits lapse during the holidays, skipping or drastically shortening their pre-bedtime routine due to social obligations, eating and drinking more alcohol, sugar, and high-fat food before bedtime, and missing regular workouts—and the result is not being able to fall asleep regardless of how tired one feels,” she explains. Bartolucci and Kristin Oja, owner of STAT Wellness, share their tips for getting more shut-eye this holiday season.

Rethink nightcaps
Resist the late-night wine or cookie, says Oja. “Your sleep quality and resting heart rate will improve dramatically if you cut out eating and drinking three to four hours before bedtime,” she explains, noting that an app, Pillow, paired with an iWatch can help you keep track of sleep trends and pitfalls.

Power down
Scrolling through your social-media feed can seem relaxing, but Oja warns it’s anything but: “Electronics can stimulate the mind and both good and bad emotions that can disrupt sleep.” Bartolucci suggests turning off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime.

Establish a routine
Whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, turning the temperature down, or packing your favorite eye mask and pillow while traveling, both experts agree that having pre-sleep rituals and implementing them at the same time daily helps train the body and the brain to know when it’s time to rest.

This article appears in our December 2019 issue.