It can be difficult enough to feel well-rested at any old time of the year, but challenges associated with sleep can multiply as the holiday season approaches. Between a packed social schedule, long days of travel and extended family time, you may find yourself feeling completely exhausted before the festivities can even begin!

Christopher Lindholst is a sleep expert and the CEO of Restworks, a company that provides sleep-related solutions for corporate clients. He points to travel as the major contributor to sleep issues at this time of year. “Lots of people are on the move, “ Christopher says. “You can expect to see fatigue due to extensive driving and jet lag from air travel, especially between time zones.”

To help all of us stay healthy and refreshed — and even more ready to enjoy our favorite sweets, cocktails and movies of the season — we got some advice from Christopher on how to combat the sleep-related challenges of the winter holidays. Scroll down for his expert tips!

Woman looking out airplane window

1. If you’re making a long drive, resist the urge to power through the whole trip at once. While it’s tempting to get to your destination ASAP, be smart when it comes to tired driving. Christopher encourages you to pull into a rest stop, put your seat back and nap for up to 15 minutes if you’re feeling sleepy. He also suggests taking a quick walk after you wake up and before hitting the road again. You’ll make the road a LOT safer if you get a little shut-eye, and your body won’t be nearly as exhausted when you finally arrive at your holiday headquarters.

2. Stick to your normal time zone. Jet lag can be a major problem for holiday travelers, especially for people making trips on the shorter side. “Assuming you are only staying for a couple of days and need to be back at work on Monday, try to keep your body clock on your usual time zone,” Christopher says. “This will help keep you less bleary-eyed during the holiday weekend, and you’ll be ready to be productive come the Monday after.”

3. Try not to sleep too late. We know, we know — there are few things better than shutting off your alarm and enjoying extended mornings of sleep during a holiday break. The bad news is that, unless you’re sleeping late in order to keep your body on track and avoid jet lag, doing so will mess up your internal clock and throw off your sleep schedule after the holidays. There’s no need to wake up at the crack of dawn, but you’ll likely regret sleeping in during your travels when you return to work.

couple taking a nap during the holidays

4. Take a nap (or a few). The experts insist! Sleeping in may be ill-advised, but Christopher has an ideal solution.“Since the point of the holidays is also to get some rest, I suggest getting in a few naps to help you catch up on your sleep,” he says. Christopher recommends early afternoon napping, in any comfy spot where you can really put your feet up and for as long as necessary to recharge. You’ll feel refreshed but will skip the “weekend lag” that comes with excessive sleeping in — and if your family tries to hate on your nap schedule, you can tell them that it’s expert-recommended!

Do you experience holiday exhaustion? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)