Many suffer from sleep deprivation during the holiday season

NEW YORK -- No rest for the weary, little nutrition or sunlight. This time of year is the perfect storm for bad sleep patterns, lousy moods..even depression.

"Sleep deprivation makes people cranky, it is an emotional burden on people," said Dr. Steven Feinsilver of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Dr. Feinsilver, who is a sleep expert and a sound sleeper by the way, says the bad news doesn't stop there.

"It also increases appetite, makes people gain weight," he said. "We get fatter because we're tired," we asked. "Yes", he replied.

Two things also make sleeping tough, especially this time of year with all the parties. We need to stay away from caffeine and alcohol, or the seven and a hours we are supposed to get won't be quality sleep.

"Alcohol is a perfect drug for ruining sleep," said Dr. Feinsilver.

When we asked one man what's best to drink at the parties, he said, "You have to learn to be straight, water's the best thing if you can, a little orange juice, cranberry."

And a woman said she limits herself to one glass of alcohol at a party.

Dr. Feinsilver warns cocktails may make you fall asleep. But you won't rest, and you probably won't even realize it.

"To cap it off, alcohol is a perfect drug for bringing out snoring. If your snore already, alcohol makes sleep apnea terrible," he said.

In fact, take frayed nerves, no sleep, then add alcohol and night driving, and you have a dangerous combination.

Another issue is anxiety: Dial it back!

"We don't go out a lot at night, especially this season with lots of things to do on the weekend and people to come over when we don't have anything planned," said one man. "Sometimes the word no can be your best friend," we said. "Absolutely," he agreed.

And the doctor advises: channel Santa and make a list.

"Make a list of everything on your mind, all the things you have to remember, what you want to do tomorrow, things that are really bothering you, and the idea is you make a list and put it away," he said.

Also, do not use electronics. Our eyes and minds think that light is sunlight, which wakes us up.

"By 1 o'clock I'll have lunch, take a nap," said one woman.

And a man said "Naps are awesome, big time."

Finally, get up at the same time every day. Good luck and good night.

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