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Give Yourself the Gift of Sleep this Holiday Season

December 19, 2012

By Lisa Feierstein, RN

All around you the stores are laden with garland, jingling tunes are hijacking your radio and the ads section in your local paper is twice as thick with sales promising great deals. But what about the amount of stress the holiday season puts on your sleep?

Ironically, in this time of cheer and jolliness, depression rates tend to increase. Recent studies have shown that people who battle depression and other mental issues have trouble sleeping at night, primarily causing them to have exacerbated psychiatric symptoms. Interestingly enough, individuals with sleep apnea, defined by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep, are at a higher rate of developing depression than people who do not have sleep apnea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently conducted a study assessing the records of approximately 10,000 Americans with sleep apnea. What they found was that men who were diagnosed with sleep apnea had two times the risk of depression while women had five times the risk. Holiday blues can manifest itself in all of us if we aren’t careful. Stresses like finding the perfect gift and cooking a Martha Stewart-esque meal have effects that trickle all the way down to your sleep.

Don’t approach this holiday season with dread. Accept that you probably aren’t going to have the family gathering like the one depicted in the Macy’s television commercial, and more than likely someone will not like a particular gift that you got them.

Give yourself the gift of sleep this holiday season. Make sure you maintain your normal sleep routine and try not to sweat the small stuff. Here’s a hint: it’s all small stuff. Happy Holidays!

Original publication here

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