• Natalie Collins

Silent night: How can we get a good night's sleep this festive season?

As Christmas gets closer many of us find sleep more difficult to sustain. The worry of what we’re buying the family, the parties that often include heavy meals and flowing alcohol, and for parents the dread of getting the kids to bed on Christmas Eve (or even worse, what time are they going to wake up on Christmas morning). Not surprisingly, many parents say they are more likely to sleep less (and drink more) over the Christmas period. So what can we do?



First, decide what a Merry Christmas looks like to you

Don’t get into competition with the rest of the world on putting up decorations, spending a fortune or worrying if people will like their presents if it doesn't add to your own contentment. This will stop you from waking in the middle of the night worrying about what you have bought Auntie Sue. Enjoying ourselves is a big part of Christmas and all I ask is that you understand that having a heavy meal too close to bedtime will raise your core temperature and impact your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.


Drinking copious amounts of alcohol impacts your ability to sleep

There I have said it. Although you may feel alcohol often helps, I’m afraid to say it doesn't. Alcohol sedates, it knocks you out, it doesn’t induce sleep. So if you are indulging, understand it will impact your sleep and plan a bit of recovery time before the next party.


Finally, practice acceptance

Accept that Christmas is flippin’ exciting for kids and that sleep will be harder on Christmas Eve and there is a good chance that the excitement of Santa coming will leave them waking incredibly early.



I would focus on sleep the rest of the time, making sure they don’t slip too far from their sleep timings during term time and keep a consistent wake up time. Keep things nice and calm before bed on Christmas Eve, have a think about what you are watching too - I would suggest The Snowman rather than Gremlins and use the ritual of leaving a mince pie for Father Christmas as a signal that it’s time for bed. I wish you luck and good sleep!

 

Reality check: Focus on what’s important to you, yes your sleep might get disrupted, getting the kids back into a routine might be hard and your brussel sprout trumps might wake you up in the middle of the night, but as long as we don’t stray too far from our normal sleep patterns, things should fall back into place, sleep-wise, in the new year.


Merry Christmas,


James


James Wilson

The Sleep Geek



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