Sleep: How to survive the holidays with your health intact


With the holidays coming it can become even more challenging to get enough quality sleep. During the holidays and holiday planning revved up, schedule demands can make achieving work-life balance seem like a job itself.

How do we multitasking women shut off that long list of to-dos at night? How do we create an atmosphere to recharge your brain for a refreshed morning?

Your day doesn’t get easier just because school’s out or a vacation is on the horizon. In fact, the holiday energy demands more of your own vital energy. We need an effective action plan to ensure adequate and restorative sleep so we stay productive, joyful and most importantly, healthy. I have some great ideas I think you’ll love!

Here is my 5 – step approach:

1. A hot Epsom Salt bath (or at least a foot bath quickie!) – this is detoxifying and the magnesium is known as nature’s relaxant. I like to add a few drops of essential oil. Here’s my go-to recipe:

Yields: 1 – 2 soaks

2 cups 100% pure Epsom salts
1/2 baking soda
3 – 5 drops lavender essential oil
3 – 5 drops clary sage essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Store in an airtight jar (like a mason jar).

2. A calming cup of warm herbal tea
Chamomile tea has been used for centuries as an anxiolytic and relaxation enhancer. This herb raises the levels of the amino acid glycine in the blood to help promote restfulness. Some people enjoy the sedative effects from chamomile as well. This may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin, that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain making it a better sleep “pill” than a prescription drug. (

3. Lemon Balm is another calming herb that can be taken as a tea or supplement to promote sleep and reduce anxiety. The active ingredient that promotes these properties is rosmarinic acid, a potent antioxidant found in plants. The effects may be enhanced with a bit of Valerian Root added. In fact, I recommend if you are really struggling with falling asleep, take an afternoon and evening tea made with 1 bag lemon balm and 1 bag valerian root. (

It’s very important to cross-reference herbs especially with any medications you’re taking. And also please be mindful of alcohol consumption as combining a potent substance such as valerian with alcohol can intensify the impact.

4. Try a tincture.
Ashwagandha, an ayurvedic herb, has been used for centuries as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are substances that modulate the activity of the body and brain, assisting with creating biochemical balance. Adaptogens are wonderful at decreasing the body’s response to stress by either raising or lowering chemicals in the body.

5. Pour a glass.
1 glass of resveratrol-rich red wine like a good Pinot Noir, provides you important polyphenols that help protect your cells from aging and oxidation brought on by your holiday stress. Plus, many women report that a little red wine is both comforting and sleep-inducing. Keep it to one glass and enjoy it with a nourishing meal to ensure you keep it working for you, not against you. And when you want to drink but not gain weight or feel sluggish the next day, make sure to pair your red with protein and veggies. Think of wine as your carb in the meal. Most busy, stressed, and tired women can’t tolerate wine and carbs so pick one or the other but not both.

Take some time during these days before the holiday rush to begin experimenting with various remedies to bring you a night of sleep that nourishes your body, mind, and soul. And most of all, tap into the spirit of the holidays.

Be forgiving towards your imperfections and embrace change. I’ve found that the more open and receptive I am to life’s unexpected events, the more clarity I have. And is there truly anything better than going to sleep with a clear mind and heart?

Naomi Whittel

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