5 Reasons to Add Sleeping More to Your Holiday Wish List

“I planned out our whole day!” Will Ferrell’s character prefaces his list of holiday activities in Elf. Even if your holiday season to-do list isn’t quite as festive as Buddy the Elf’s, you likely know the feeling of having a lot to do around this time of year.
One item that rarely makes the to-do list is getting enough sleep. As your holiday season gets busier and busier, here are a few reminders for why you should try to carve out ample time for sleep:


1. In addition to potentially packing on some pounds from too many holiday treats, not sleeping enough may also contribute to your waistline this season. Studies have found that sleep-deprived people are more likely to be obese and also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.


2. If you don’t return to the office well-rested, you may be putting your job performance on the line. Sleep deprivation is associated with being less engaged in work, less creativity, poorer memory, less effective decision-making, and more unethical behavior.


3. You shouldn’t get in the car after you’ve been at a holiday party downing several glasses of champagne, and you also shouldn’t get behind the wheel if you’re too sleepy. Sleepiness contributes to a large proportion of all traffic accidents, and the fatality rate of these types of accidents is similar to that of alcohol-related crashes. In fact, being sleep deprived can cause impairments in driving-related skills comparable to those caused by drinking alcohol.


4. It’ll also be hard to have a holly jolly Christmas if you aren’t sleeping enough! As anyone who’s been cranky after a night of not sleeping well can tell you, sleep deprivation can also impact your mood and your well-being. People who are sleep deprived show declines in positive feelings such as feeling optimistic, sociable, and cheerful. They are also more likely to experience psychological distress (e.g., feeling more nervous, depressed, and restless).


5.  On top of everything else, not sleeping enough can also have implications for your physical health and even your life expectancy. Sleep-deprived people are more at risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. And in case none of these were reason enough to get more sleep, being sleep deprived is also associated with greater risk for mortality. Indeed, people who chronically do not get enough sleep are more likely to die at an earlier age.

So this holiday season, definitely eat, drink, and be merry…but don’t forget to sleep too!