Did you know that sleep is most likely to suffer around the holidays? In fact, research indicates that listening to Christmas music too early in the season can cause feelings of stress and anxiety. For some this information might be shocking. For others, it’s not surprising at all. Our culture puts so much pressure on us to buy the best gifts, cook the best meals and host the best parties. It’s no wonder we are stressed to the hilt. How are you supposed to keep up with the physical, emotional, and financial demands of the season? The answer is you can’t. And all that stress that builds up is what keeps you up at night. For that reason, why not give the gift of sleep this holiday season?
Why You Should Give The Gift Of Sleep This Holiday Season
How Stress Affects Sleep
The relationship between sleep and stress is complicated. Here’s why:
When you are under a lot of stress, your sleep suffers. This all has to do with cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone). At night, cortisol levels naturally decrease. However, stress keeps cortisol levels elevated. This means you are unable to relax and fall asleep. Here’s where things get complicated. Lack of sleep results in increased levels of cortisol. Translation – the very thing keeping you up at night gets worse as you get less sleep leaving you stuck in this vicious cycle. This is why the gift of sleep is so important.
Why we should take our sleep seriously
It’s no wonder the holidays are a recipe for disaster when it comes to getting adequate shut-eye. The effects of sleep deprivation go much further than yelling at your in-laws, burning the Christmas cookies, and forgetting the butter at the store for the 10th time. Long-term sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other ailments. It’s about time we took our sleep seriously. Just another reason to give the gift of sleep!
Giving the Gift of Sleep
If there is one thing everyone wants and needs, it’s more sleep. Although we know how important it is, you may be wondering how in the world could I give someone a gift of sleep? Obviously, you can’t gift your friends and family a full eight hours of shut-eye. But you can gift them the tools they need to get their best night’s sleep. Here are some ideas:
Our mattress is the number one factor (we have control over) that impacts our sleep quality. Yet, nearly 50% of Americans are sleeping on the wrong mattress for their body type and sleeping style. (Sidenote: You might be thinking, how in the world does someone know which mattress they need for their sleeping style? Here’s a cool quiz to find out!) Another issue with mattresses interrupting sleep is the age. For a mattress to do its job properly (aka keep you asleep), you need to keep it updated. If your mattress is over 10-years old, it’s most likely hurting you more than helping you. The lumps and sags that form in your mattress over time cause the aches and pains that keep you up at night.
If you are thinking there is no way you could afford to buy a mattress, you are in luck. With the launch of online mattress companies like Saatva, Purple, Casper, and many more, quality mattresses are more affordable than ever. In fact, most cost under $1,000. If you aren’t sure where to start, try reading third-party reviews or side-by-side comparisons to help narrow your search. Your sleep (and your health) is worth the investment. Can’t afford a new mattress alone? Have your family pitch in towards the gift of sleep on a new mattress.
Believe it or not, your pillow actually has a big impact on the way you sleep as well. In fact, this little piece of cushioning that supports your upper body throughout the night has a bigger impact on your sleep quality than you might think. That’s because the wrong pillow can throw your spine out of alignment, which is a big no-no.
Just as good posture is important during our waking hours, it’s important during our sleeping hours too. If your spine is not supported or kept in alignment, it can result in issues with low-back pain. This Christmas you may want to browse the aisles a little longer to find the right pillow for your family and friends and offer the gift of sleep.
A white noise machine
Light, temperature, and noise are the three most important environmental factors when it comes to getting good sleep. If you are having an issue with the light in your sleep space, try using blackout curtains. But let’s be honest, who wants that for Christmas?
When it comes to helping someone spruce up their sleeping environment, a white-noise machine sounds way more fun (no pun intended). White noise is a type of noise produced by combining sounds from every audible frequency in equal amounts. By combining all of the audible frequencies, it makes it hard for your brain to detect specific sounds among all the noise. This is why white noise can be a helpful way to drown out sounds that wake you up in the night or prevent you from falling asleep in the first place. And what better way to give the gift of sleep.
If you have a loved one struggling to catch those ZZZs, consider gifting them a white noise machine.
Hopefully, this gift guide will help you gift better sleep to someone you love this season and in the meantime, help you too!