Sleeping Through the Holidaze

santa clause surrounded by presents and sleeping on hardwood floor

What’s your current holiday vibe? Like many of us this time of year, it might feel something like this:

“I can’t handle one more thing today!!! Oh, I forgot, I have a holiday potluck tonight—and all I have are stale crackers in my pantry.”

And, your Busy Brain is tempting you with, “Let me show up at this party dressed to the nines with the best, handmade exotic dip…and further avoid my to-do list.”

Procrastination and perfection are evil twin cousins who show up for an extended stay during the holidays. Am I right?

Our Busy Brains can quickly amp up to a full-on feeling of frazzled this time of year. End-of-year reporting, 2023 goals/planning, extra to-do list items and events for the holiday season all stress our minds already at capacity.

Between schedules, shorter hours spent in daylight, and, let’s admit it—comfort carbs—we are setting our brains up for challenged sleep.

5 Reasons Skimping on Sleep with Ruin Your Holidays

Each time I give a keynote lecture or run our brainSHIFT workplace wellness program, I field a similar set of questions. Without fail, I am asked about:

  1. Weight gain and why a particular diet isn’t helping.
  2. Are my hormones to blame?
  3. How to improve focus and stay productive throughout the day.
  4. Lack of daytime energy despite sleeping 8 hours or consuming caffeine.
  5. The link between stress, sleep deprivation and chronic disease.

Read MoreHealthy You: Biohacks for Planners

While these topics may appear unrelated to some, I see a distinct pattern in them—each of these concerns is intimately linked to sleep.

The hustle culture of so many workplaces applauds employees who function on less than five hours of sleep. This mindset of powering through your day while sleep-deprived is setting your mind and body up for failure.

Getting adequate sleep is not just about having enough steam to get through the day. Sleep affects your overall health and well-being. Without it, our bodies deteriorate over time, resulting in a host of short and long-term issues.

And some of them are more serious than you may think. Here are five major ways that sleep disorders and insomnia can contribute to poor health.

  1. Lack of sleep promotes weight gain.
  2. Poor sleep contributes to hormone imbalance in men and women.
  3. Sleep disturbances impede our ability to focus—making us feel like we have ADD or ADHD.
  4. Disrupted sleep contributes to a lack of energy.
  5. Increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Sleep is the new status symbol of successful professionals.

Seriously Rested

In writing this article, I aim to encourage you to take the state of your sleep seriously. I invite you to prioritize your brain health before your business goals or holiday to-do lists. And I am aware that this may increase your stress and anxiety levels as you now consider the wide-reaching impacts of your poor sleep.

Start with these microhabits, one at a time as we teach in our brainSHIFT Workplace Wellness programs:

  1. Embrace boredom and do nothing. Yes, nothing, including watching Hallmark Channel movies or addressing holiday cards.
  2. Schedule 30 minutes of calming activity each night prior to bedtime, without using digital devices.
  3. Start a mindfulness-based practice at bedtime. Listen to a sleep story or a guided meditation.

You can read about this protocol in more detail in an article here.

Let me take a moment to reassure you that improving your sleep is possible. Achieving sleep can feel impossible, especially if your brain is scrambled from a lack of sleep, but a practical approach to improving your sleep can result in improved overall health, energy levels, and a sense of fulfillment in your life.

To learn more, start by taking a free Busy Brain Test to assess the state of your brain today. Along with your test results, you’ll receive resources to help you immediately take charge of your health and make positive changes in your life.

Dr. Romie Mushtaq, MD, is a board-certified physician, award-winning wellness speaker, and the founder of “brainSHIFT at Work.” She brings together over 20 years of authority in neurology, integrative medicine, and mindfulness to not just deliver programs, but create cultural change.

She is on a mission to transform mental health and wellness in the workplace and currently works with Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, & global associations. She is also chief wellness officer for Evolution Hospitality, where she scaled a mindfulness and wellness program to over 7,000 employees. Her expertise is featured in the national media such as NPR, NBC, TED talks, and Forbes.  Find the cure for your busy brain at drromie.com or @drromie on social media.

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