Holiday Time: Food Fest, Overindulgence and Sleep

Food Fest, Overindulgence and Sleep

It’s that time of year – food, friends, food, family, festive cocktails, and more food.

A recipe for great times, great memories and...BAD SLEEP. Stress, lack of sleep, and travel are just a few of the culprits that can cause a holiday season filled with little to no slumber.

Read on for tips to enjoy your holidays and also enjoy good sleep!

Lay off the extra sweets

Going to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head may sound lovely – but not if the visions are nightmares! Many of us eat more sugary, fatty, and heavy foods during the holiday season, keeping us from falling asleep and staying asleep.

Sugar and junk food too close to bedtime can actually cause nightmares – not to mention the possibility that the effect of excess carbohydrates on your brain can keep you awake and wired.

Give yourself time between eating and sleeping

But don’t go to bed hungry. If you really need a bedtime snack (even with all the extra holiday food), try eating small amounts of healthier and lower carbohydrate foods – just enough to take the edge off your hunger.

Be sure to give yourself proper time between eating and sleeping. With family gatherings and holiday celebrations, we all experience eating too much and too late. Try to leave about three hours between your last meal and bedtime. Doing this will help your digestion so that the contents of your stomach properly move into your small intestine.

Digestion is just harder when you are horizontal! You run the risk of having your sleep disrupted by acid reflux and heartburn. On the dramatic side, a study found that people with a risk of stroke decreased that risk by waiting longer between their last meal of the day and bedtime.

Alcohol is not a sleep aid

Contrary to popular thinking, alcohol is not a sleep aid. We all love a good holiday libation (or two), but be mindful of just how much you’re drinking. Consuming alcohol can certainly make you sleepy – but the sleep you get is, well, bad. And then there is the dreaded day after. Best hangover remedy? Prevent one by not drinking to excess.

Hangovers are caused by a multitude of the effects of alcohol: dehydration, stomach irritation, and even an autoimmune response. But if you do celebrate just a little too much:


  • Drink water while you are drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol and combat the dehydrating effects (gives you that unwanted massive headache).
  • Eat first – drinking alcohol on an empty stomach increases alcohol absorption, and you might drink less on a full stomach.
  • Choose carefully – lighter colored beer and wine contain fewer congeners, and may be kinder to your morning after than dark liquor and red wine.

Still need to recover from the holidays? Nows the time to celebrate your need for sleep. Consider celebrating The Festival of Sleep Day on January 3 – a day devoted to getting the rest you’ve missed during the holidays (we are not making this up, go ahead and put your PTO request in)!

Want more tips? Sleep Better During the Holidays.