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Community & Culture

Don’t Lose Sleep over Thanksgiving Travel! 5 Tips to Sleep Better This Holiday

It's nearly Thanksgiving - meaning it'll soon be over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house you go. While this annual gathering is a great time to reminisce and enjoy visiting with family and friends, it's also the time of year when your sleep tends to suffer as a result. If you plan on traveling to enjoy your turkey and stuffing, consider these five tips before hitting the road:

5 Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Sleep Tips

  1. Bring your own pillow

    Whether you're staying at a hotel or with a family member, having your own pillow may make for more restful sleep. Not only is your body used to the way it feels, you won't risk picking up any allergens that may be lingering in someone else's pillow. If you're not already doing so, consider using a pillow protector to safeguard against potentially harmful irritants. You may want to pack earplugs and an eye mask as well to block out any light and noises you're not used to.

  2. A little lavender goes a long way

    In addition to mattress and pillow protection, your sense of smell can be a big factor in creating a healthy sleep zone - especially when away from home. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sprinkling a little lavender oil on your pillow has been shown to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, putting you in a more relaxed state. In one sleep study, researchers found that those who sniffed lavender before bedtime had more deep sleep and felt more invigorated when waking up in the morning.

  3. Feeling sleepy? It's not just the turkey

    A common misconception associated with Thanksgiving is that eating turkey makes you sleepy. According to a recent Washington Post article, researchers say the real culprit is overeating. While the holiday bird does contain the sleep-inducing chemical tryptophan, all that stuffing, cranberry sauce and the extra helping of mashed potatoes in a short time frame could be the real reason you feel like you need to rest. To avoid the common Thanksgiving "crash," spread out your food intake - or at least wait a little bit before diving into the pumpkin pie.

  4. Nap with care

    After enjoying the delicious meal, it's common for families to park in front of the TV to watch football or other Thanksgiving programming, which often leads to a nap. While a short snooze might be just what you need to get through the rest of your day, napping for more than 30 minutes can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at the normal time that night. If you're going to nap, set an alarm to make sure you don't overdo it.

  5. Avoid snacking too late

    Easier said than done...but laying off the leftovers later in the evening can help prevent tossing and turning in bed. Studies show that consuming large amounts of certain foods inhibits your body's ability to wind down. If you decide to go back for seconds (or thirds) leading up to bedtime, try to limit protein-heavy items like turkey. These are harder to digest and can lead to disrupted sleep.

We hope you and your family have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Here's to plenty of great food, family and sleep!

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