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Melissa's Top 10 Holiday Sleep and Survival Tips

As a child at my dad's house, waking up Christmas morning was a magical experience. As an adult, I got to see behind the scenes and finally realised why my dad and step-mother were always so exhausted on Christmas day! (Hint: it had something to do with staying up until 4 am wrapping presents!)

So in their honour, the # 10 tip for Holiday Sleep and Survival is:

10. Wrap gifts as you go, and definitely BEFORE the night before deadline!

This next tip is all very nice to say . . .

9. Don’t stress too much. It’s the HOLIDAYS! A week of fun, food, family and relaxation. It doesn't have to be perfect, and because of the food and family element, it can't be! So be happy with how it rolls.

It might help to accept that:

8. Your family (and sometime your friends) are your family. They probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Hopefully that’s a good thing, but if not, I've found that acceptance works better than exasperation.

7. If you are feeling isolated or...

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Can a poor sleeper become a good sleeper?

Sleep disorders like insomnia are usually not born but made. Often they start during a time of situational stress like with the birth of a new baby, starting a new job, death of loved one, relationship problems. Most often people find that insomnia occurs as delayed sleep onset (difficulty falling asleep) or difficulty with sleep maintenance (difficulty staying asleep or sleeping long enough). Sometimes insomnia manifests as BOTH. I have had clients who before working with me got only 2 hours sleep per night, and in many cases had nights when they did not sleep at all.

Chronic insomnia as defined by the National Sleep Foundation is when difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep happens three or more nights per week, for at least three months.

If you were sleeping only 4 or 5 hours per night on a good night, with other nights where you were lying awake for hours, and sometimes all night, it's understandable that you might start to think of yourself as someone who is...

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The 2 Types of Stress and How they Affect your Sleep

The Two Types of Stress

Did you know that there are two different types of stress? And that one of these types of stress is much more damaging to our sleep? We hear about flight or fight, but recently psychologists have found that flight stress and fight stress is handled differently in the body. Even more importantly than that, we are able to BY THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT OUR STRESSOR, change whether our body interprets our stress as bad or good. This in turn can make the difference between us being able to recover from stress by sleeping, or whether we are so stressed that we are unable to sleep.

Fight Stress

We can think about our “Fight Stress” as a challenge. Something that takes all of our resources, but that we have a chance to win at. This could be a fight in the playground, the bedroom or the boardroom, but the significant thing here is that we feel we have a chance and thus our body gears up to fight. A fight is something that has an end to it, and after the fight...

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How to Fall Asleep

If you have trouble sleeping, how to fall asleep can become something can think about constantly. Falling asleep fast can seem like a distant dream when you toss and turn for an hour or more before you can fall asleep. You may have even had nights when you can’t fall asleep at all! After months or years of this, insomnia is no longer just one of a growing epidemic of sleep disorders; it’s something you experience night after night.

It just doesn’t make sense. You’re tired. Fatigued, You want and need to sleep. You may even be doing some or all of the right things, like practicing good sleep hygiene as suggested by your doctor or psychologist or the last magazine article or internet search you did. You have a regular bedtime routine. You switch off your phone or computer at least an hour before bed. You drink a cup of warm milk and honey or camomile tea or you have a prescription for melatonin. And sure, you get sleepy, often on the couch while you’re...

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How Drinking Coffee Affects Our Sleep

You know that sleepy feeling you get after lunch? That "wish I could take a nap" urge to crawl under your desk and get a few minutes of shut-eye? What do you do instead? If you're like hundreds of millions of people world wide, you grab a cup of coffee, Maybe you grab a chocolate bar as well, or a muffin, drink of red bull or another high-caffeine soda or sports drink. Anything to give you that little boost.

What is the problem with this?

Well, it can mask your sleep deprivation. And when we don't get enough sleep, we become dangerous drivers, emotionally volatile, worse at remembering things, more liable to make mistakes and less productive. Studies show that just 1 hour of sleep loss below what we need can cause impairment. JUST 1 HOUR! 

How much sleep do we need? For healthy adults the range is 7-9 hours. Yet how many of us are surviving during the week on 6 hours of sleep or less?

When we don't get enough sleep, night after night, this also affects our health. The...

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