How to survive the ‘Silly Season’

Break out the champagne and hang the mistletoe. The celebrations leading up to Christmas and New Year have already begun.

Get ready for dancing, feasting and all the usual frivolity. Though most of us love the excuse to indulge in good food, wine and great company, our sleep can suffer.

Good sleep habits fly out the window leaving us feeling tired and irritable.

The fact is, losing just one hour of sleep a night can cause havoc with your health.

Sleep scientist Matthew Walker confirms that “no aspect of our biology is left unscathed by sleep deprivation”. Getting fewer than eight hours sleep a night on a regular basis can lead to a long list of nasty health ailments including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and poor mental health.

Here are 5 tips on how you can survive the silly season this year:

1. Stick to your sleep routine

When your social calendar is busy, it’s impossible not to miss the odd hour of sleep here and there. But where you can, try and stick to your usual sleep routine. On the nights when you’re not out partying, be kind to yourself. Have a warm bath, turn the lights down and the devices off, and aim to get a good seven to nine hours sleep.

2. Stay active

Exercise is a life-saver. It helps us manage stress and keeps us healthy.

After a late night, getting up for an early-morning workout can be almost impossible. So, make sure you balance out your week. Maybe a walk is better than a hard workout at the gym on the days when you’re feeling tired.

3. Try not to overindulge on food and alcohol

Easy to say, harder to do!

Eating too much late at night and overdoing your alcohol intake can play havoc with your sleep. By all means, if you’re going to have a tipple, eat first. But try and eat earlier in the evening.

The simple act of alternating your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water can slow things down, limiting the damage and avoiding an awful hangover.

4. Pace yourself

If you’ve been inundated with party invitations, perhaps it’s a good idea to pick and choose.

You don’t have to go to them all! After all, the end of the year is often when you’re feeling tired and in need of some down-time. In between the hectic socialising, try and fit in a massage, a session or two of yoga and an early night.

5. Chill and enjoy yourself

For some of us, Christmas can be a little stressful. We can get caught-up in a frantic shop-a-thon, searching for presents for relatives we hardly ever see and stretching the credit card to its limit.

Taking time out to ‘just be’ with your favourite people is the best way to end the year. Reflect on the good things in your life and make a little ‘peace on Earth’ in your part of the world.