Christmas Eve Sleep Tips for All by Dave Gibson
Christmas Day for those with young families inevitably starts with a little less sleep for all. Here are ten simple Christmas Eve Sleep Tips to help make sure you minimise the disruption, and to maximise the available zzzz’s.
1) Talk through the plans. Explain what the rules and schedule are for the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ahead of time. This is especially important if you are going away and children are sleeping in strange beds. If so, explain as many of the details as possible before you set off. Get your children’s ‘buy-in’ on wake up and bed times for the period.
2) If going away acclimatise. Try to use the bed they will sleep in on Xmas Eve before the night itself. This gets ‘first night syndrome’ out of the way early. This is where we automatically find it harder to get to sleep as we are more alert when sleeping in a strange bed.
3) Make everything as familiar as possible. This means sticking to the same sleep routine both away and at home. As well as taking teddy bears and soft toys on trips away, bring favourite blankets, and even favourite pillows.
4) Start Xmas eve early too. If you are expecting your children to be up at 6am, get them up close to this time on Christmas Eve too. This has two main benefits. First it helps to set up their body clock to go to sleep earlier on Christmas Eve. It will also give you more time to tire them out.
5) Get outside in the morning. Lots of fresh air and bright light will get the body clock going. A long walk would be good. Aerobic exercise even better. The aim is to tire out your children so they feel tired enough to go to bed on time. Exercise will also produce a deeper and more restful nights’ sleep.
6) Keep them going in the afternoon. If you are having boisterous games, and loud music pack this into the afternoon. This keeps the adrenalin going and adds to tiring them out. If you are allowing Xmas sweets stop them in the early afternoon. This then keeps their appetite for their evening meal. Regular meal times help the body clock.
7) Then you can calm down the evening. Stop all tech 2 hours before bedtime as per usual. No sweets are allowed at all after the evening meal. Make sure any visiting friends and family also know the rules.
8) Have a simple bedtime countdown. This would be announcing when there are 30 minutes, 20 minutes and 10 minutes to bedtime.
9) Allow a bit more time for the routine. Given the excitement it tends to take longer to get children to bed on Xmas Eve. Allow for this ahead of the bedtime countdown. However, always keep to the same routine for example of bath, teeth, book, bed. Our brains like habits and consistent routines will help your children get to sleep more easily
10) Adults get a nap in the afternoon. If you are going to get up early with your children on Christmas Day, try to take a short nap on Christmas Eve. This helps keep your sleep volume up, and also sets a great example for your children. Naps are an important part of a good sleep hygiene kit.