Excitement for Christmas is one of the best parts of the year. Its only downside is the impact on how we fall asleep on Christmas Eve. Particularly for youngsters, Christmas Eve can become unbearably exciting, making sleep impossible until you’ve been told for the umpteenth time that the big red guy won’t visit if you don’t get some shut-eye. But it’s not only children who struggle to nod off on Christmas Eve, adults do too! Here, we explore tips on how to get some sleep without losing the magic of the most exciting night of the year.
Now you’re an adult. And if you’re like me, the child inside comes out on Christmas Eve, ruining a good night’s sleep by keeping you awake with excitement, leading to an exhausted Christmas Day where even the idea of socialising will make you crave your bed. How can you ensure you get a good night sleep on Christmas Eve?
How To Sleep On Christmas Eve
In our Sleep Better Study, 54% of women and 45% of men stated they found it harder to fall asleep after a day of stress. And what more stressful day is there than Christmas Eve? Apart from those lucky, organised few who have everything ready, the majority of us are running around like headless chickens trying to tie up loose ends before the big day. To help, we’ve compiled our best tips for getting to sleep on Christmas Eve:
1. Avoid caffeine
Caffeine has a half-life of between 6 and 8 hours. That’s the amount of time it stays in your system. When you have a cup of coffee, the caffeine stimulates all the nerves in your frontal lobes – waking your brain, boosting adrenaline and blocking sleep inducing chemicals. Caffeine also increases your chances of developing a headache and can make your heart rate jump, which will either wake you up or disturb your sleep. No doubt, we’re all a little excited for Christmas without throwing adrenaline-boosting chemicals into the mix. And with what’s likely to be an early start the next day, avoiding caffeine is one of the best ways to ensure a blissful sleep on Christmas Eve.
2. Stay busy in the day
Make sure you have a well-planned day so that the weight of productivity sends you into a deep slumber. Hopefully, gifts will already be wrapped so you can concentrate on pre-chopping vegetables for the big day. The best way to guarantee a fully productive day is to make a check-list of what needs to be bought, wrapped, cooked and decorated. All the energy that might have kept you awake at night will be depleted, leaving you to sleep like a baby regardless of your excitement for Christmas.
3. Limit exposure to light
Get ready for some science! When the body decides it needs to sleep, the small pineal gland in your brain wakes up and produces a hormone called melatonin. Once this floods into your bloodstream, you naturally become less alert and are ready to drift off to sleep. This usually occurs around 9 pm, and melatonin levels will remain high for about 12 hours. However, our modern lifestyles are fighting the production of melatonin. The pineal gland relies on darkness to become active and staring at a television screen, smart tablet or phone has the negative effect of delaying melatonin. This causes disturbance for sleep and a sure-fire way to ensure you struggle to sleep on Christmas Eve. Steps can be taken to limit the damaging blue light, such as lowering the brightness of the screen or, better still, adding a special screen protector such as those from Ocushield.
These tips will help you doze off on Christmas Eve. Don’t ruin the evening by ignoring excitement, it is a fantastic time of year and should be enjoyed, but you don’t want to suffer from sleep deprivation on Christmas Day. Relax and good night!
For further reading, the Royal College of Psychiatrists have a leaflet on sleeping well, click here to read it.
If you have any more tips that help you fall asleep, please share them in the comments below!