As Santa enters our skies for the ‘jolliest hols’ of the year, all the festivities can play havoc on our sleep, according to The Sleep Council.
As the advent calendars countdown to the big day, The Sleep Council recommends preparing a sleep survival plan to help you feel your best throughout the party season.
Said Lisa Artis of The Sleep Council: “Christmas is the one time of the year when sleep routines go out of the window. Christmas shopping and its associated costs, family gatherings, social engagements and food and alcohol can all put a strain on you and your health.
“While we wouldn’t suggest missing out on all the fun, if you’re not getting as much rest as you need and starting to feel it, try following these simple tips to help yourself to get a better night’s sleep.”
• Try as much as possible to keep regular hours – we know it can be hard when you’re staying up late for that extra night cap! Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.
• Plan ahead. Too many people spend weeks worrying about getting the shopping done – it’s far easier to do it when you first start thinking about it. Start stocking up with the supplies as soon as possible, buying a few items over the remaining weeks leading up to Christmas along with your regular shopping. As for presents, a great tip is to have an emergency supply, just a few small gifts to save you from embarrassment in the event of someone arriving unexpectedly with a prezzie for you. Once you worry less, you’ll sleep better.
• Create a restful sleeping environment. Keep the Christmas decorations to the other parts of your home. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep and it should be neither too hot, nor too cold; and as quiet and dark as possible. Watch our video here for creating the perfect sleeping environment.
• Keep up the regular exercise. Winter weather, late nights and all that extra food and drink can make you feel tired or sluggish giving you an easy excuse to skip the gym. But that’s why it’s more important than ever to keep up the moderate exercise. Even a walk can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But, refrain from going too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. A good brisk walk is ideal to stop you feeling sluggish after a hefty Christmas dinner.
• Don’t end up compensating for lack of sleep by going too heavy on stimulants such as caffeine in tea, coffee or cola – especially in the evening. They interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.
• Keep some ear plugs handy to block out the sound of your partner’s alcohol or feast-induced snoring!
• Don’t over-indulge on turkey, mince pies and mulled wine. Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can play havoc with sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but will interrupt your sleep later on in the night. It is hard in the party period but try to swap to water a couple of hours before bedtime.
• Try to relax and insist on some ‘me time’ before going to bed. The run-up to Christmas can be stressful so give both the mind and body time to wind down by having a warm bath, listening to some quiet music or doing some yoga.
• Christmas can cause stress at home but make sure you resolve arguments before bed. Ongoing conflicts are not conducive to putting you in the right frame of mind for sleep.
• If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again – why not wrap a couple of presents? Go back to bed when you start to feel sleepy.