Causes and tips for dealing with post-holiday insomnia - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Causes and tips for dealing with post-holiday insomnia

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

Now that the holidays are behind us, are you sleeping better at night?  

For many people, the time before, during, and after the holidays can be filled with sleepless nights.

The hustle, the bustle, the traffic. You might think since the holidays are over, you can sleep better. That's not the case for everyone.  

Dawn Owczarzak says she doesn't sleep well at all, 

"I get up, wake up a lot probably because of business," she said. "A lot is on my mind."

Sherri Gavin says her sleep patterns are not that bad.   

"I'm usually up and down. I've got kids," Sherri explained, "but the holiday season I actually maybe sleep a little better because I'm exhausted from shopping."

Physicians say the holidays can bring about their own form of stress, which can lead to insomnia.

Dr. Jerrod Taylor is a specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine.

"We have a tendency to get off of our usual schedule, whether or not that might be an exercise program or the time we decide we're going to go to sleep each night, and then we also can't forget the types of food and beverages that we consume during the holiday and they can all really have a negative impact on our ability to sleep well," said Dr. Taylor.

 "When we think about caffeine, the first thing that pops into our mind is coffee, maybe tea or our favorite soda," he continued. "But we never think about those chocolate-laden goodies that we consumed during the holiday season that can have just as much of a negative impact on our sleep as caffeine from coffee can."

Still munching on holiday goodies? Taylor says don't eat two hours before bedtime. It can lead to indigestion, reflux and insomnia.  

He says alcohol can also be problematic. At the beginning of your night time sleep, it can help, but as the night progresses...

"...During the course of the night, after our bodies have the  chance to metabolize some of that alcohol, it has the opposite effect and our sleep becomes very, very light, very fragmented," he said.

He says good, healthy habits and a regular time for going to sleep and waking up are key.

Some more advice from the doctor: Taylor says make certain that at night time you have a routine before going to sleep.

"There's a time you retire each night. I'd continue to try to do so.  There's a time when you wake up, and that's what you should do as well."

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