6 Tips on How You Can Get to Sleep on Christmas Eve

11 Min Read | By Chris Clark

Last Modified 20 November 2023   First Added 8 November 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

With the countdown to Christmas in full swing, the fun has begun. Many have decorated their Christmas tree, started playing Yuletide tunes and decked the halls with boughs of holly. It is a thrilling time of year. Not just for kids but for adults too.

However, between Christmas Eve parties, staying up to play Santa, ensuring that everything is ready for the morning, and early risers – many of us don’t get nearly enough shut eye. Lack of sleep can make you groggy, irritated, and stressed. Definitely not what we want on Christmas!

So, how can you get a good night’s sleep on Christmas Eve? Read on and learn how to get a restful night without losing the magic…

Why is it hard to sleep on Christmas Eve?

In our Sleep 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, most of us are running around like headless chickens trying to tie up loose ends before the big day.

Both negative and positive emotions can be stressful, especially around an important holiday like Christmas. Many of us remember the giddy excitement we had as children, but as adults, this often translates to a different kind of anxiety. Here are just some of the reasons that Christmas Eve can cause us to experience sleep difficulties:

  • Last minute preparation
  • Travelling/staying away from home
  • Hosting guests
  • Excitement jitters
  • Anticipating tasks
  • Social anxiety
  • Exhaustion/overwhelmed

A lot of the time, the stress we feel around Christmas is self-imposed because there’s so much pressure to have a good time. It’s important to remember to check in with yourself and try to enjoy the festivities your way.

Mother and daughter cuddling at Christmas

How to sleep on Christmas Eve?

If you’re one of the people who struggle to doze off on Christmas Eve and you want to be well-rested for the big day, then we’re here to help. Whatever the cause of your sleep issues, here are our top tips for getting you in the headspace for snoozing…

1. Avoid caffeine

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 during the day is one of the best ways to ensure a blissful sleep on Christmas Eve.

Caffeine has a half-life between 2 and 12 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 can also increase your chances of developing a headache and make your heart rate jump. This can cause you to wake up or disturb your sleep.

 

Christmas gifts wrapped

2. Stay busy during the day

On the days running up to Christmas Eve, 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 productive day is to make a checklist 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. Also, to help you stay organised, we have created a Christmas countdown, so you can time your wrapping to the hour.

 

3. Limit exposure to light

Get ready for some science! When the body decides 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 ready to drift off. This usually occurs as light decreases, 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 delays melatonin. This causes disturbance in sleep and will make you struggle to sleep on Christmas Eve. Steps can be taken to limit the damaging blue light, such as lowering the screen’s brightness or, better still, adding a special screen protector.

Man dishing Christmas dinner

4. Get ahead of the cooking

If you’re hosting Christmas dinner this year – don’t leave prep until the last minute. Instead of worrying about all the things you need to do on Christmas morning, aim to do it the night before. Then, you won’t need to wake up early on Christmas morning to prep your dinner.

Your vegetables will stay fresh in the fridge if you peel them and pop them into sealed containers overnight. Don’t worry, they’ll still taste just as delicious. Keeping your mind active with tasks and ticking things off your to-do list on Christmas Eve will make it go faster and help you feel relaxed when you get into bed.

For more inspiration, read our guide: Eat and Drink the Treats You Love & Still Sleep Well This Christmas. 

5. Treat it like a normal night

Sticking to your usual sleep routine on Christmas Eve will help get your brain in the mood for snoozing. Going through the motions of a typical nighttime will psychologically prepare you for sleep. A strong evening routine is important for kids and adults to build healthy sleep habits. Listen to your body and remember to take the time to wind down so you can be on top form on Christmas morning!

So, put on your Christmas PJs, grab a warm festive drink, and watch your favourite Christmas movie to ensure a stress-free slumber.

Three red candles

6. Create a relaxed atmosphere

A tidy room is a tidy mind. Consider ensuring your bedroom is decluttered before hitting the sheets. This way, you will eliminate having to do it on Christmas morning when you have more important things to focus on.

You can also achieve a relaxed ambience by dimming the lights and lighting candles. Scented candles, in particular, are great for changing how you feel. Additionally, soothing music can help your mind slow down and focus. Listening to calming music, as well as paying attention to your breath, will help you to be more mindful. Read our guide to the 4-7-8 method for more tips.

Fun activities to keep your kids busy on Christmas Eve

If you keep your little ones occupied with lots of fun and laughter, they’ll sleep well at bedtime.

  1. Bake some Christmas-themed cookies. Think Christmas trees, snowmen, magical reindeer, Santa, and his elves.
  2. Get ready for Santa. Leave some milk and snacks out for when he visits. Don’t forget carrots for his reindeer.
  3. Movie night! Watch all your kid’s favourites: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Miracle on 34th Street and more.
  4. Make Christmas crafts. If you have family coming over for Christmas day, the night before, you can make Christmas cards for them with your children.
  5. Read Christmas stories together. There’s nothing like reading a heartfelt book with your children to get into the spirit of things.

We have created a special bedtime story for little ones about the excitement of Christmas Eve. Continue reading…

The biggest sleep of the year

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! But there’s too much to do,
Before I snuggle up in bed, my list I must go through.
It’s time to tick them one by one and check that all’s in place,
And then I’ll rest my sleepy eyes, a smile upon my face.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! Is everything prepared?
What if Santa turns up and he thinks I haven’t cared?
So let me leave a mince pie there, just by the twinkling tree,
A bite of that deliciousness to fill him up with glee.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! What else should I leave out?
Oh yes, a carrot would be good, of that there is no doubt.
For Rudolph might get peckish, when he bobs round to my pad,
I’ll leave a big one out for him, the best he’s ever had.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! Excitement’s through the roof.
Will this year be quite different? Should I make sure it’s fool proof?
If Santa goes from house to house, he’ll want to stay all clean,
I’ve got lots of hand soap, let me leave some on the scene.

Time to sleep! It’s Christmas Eve! Is everything just right?
I sent my letter off this year, made sure I was polite.
The snow has started falling, and I’m feeling kind of tired,
Hopefully, I’ve done the things that Santa has required.

Now I’ll sleep. It’s Christmas Eve. I’ve got a snoozy head,
Put on my festive jim jams, left my stocking by the bed.
I’m wrapped up nice and warm, a fluffy pillow by my face,
When night‐time’s done, will he have come, and visited my place?

Fast asleep! It’s Christmas Eve. A wonder does await.
Whilst I am in a dreamland, Santa’s moving, can’t be late.
What will he think of all those things I’ve left out when he’s here?
Perhaps he’ll leave a gift for me, the morning’s now so near.

Wide awake! It’s Christmas Day. My duvet’s in the air,
I know that I should make my bed, but frankly, I don’t care.
Dashing down the stairs because there’s just no time to wait,
Santa’s been, it’s not a dream, this feeling feels just great.

Wide awake! It’s Christmas Day. And Santa’s left a note.
I can’t believe it’s there for me, I wonder what he wrote?
The paper has my name on and it’s stamped from the North Pole,
It’s sitting near a gift for me. Phew! No lump of coal.

‘Hello You!’ ‘It’s Christmas Day’, the note said as I read,
‘Thank you for the things you left, you clearly planned ahead.
Rudolph loved his carrot, that you thoughtfully did place,
The rainbow in your window, did you make that? It looks ace!’

‘You can’t sleep on Christmas Eve, I think I heard you say?
You wanted to make sure that all was right this special day.
But whilst I’m super‐grateful that you went to all this fuss,
There’s something more important that I think we should discuss’.

‘I’ve come here, this Christmas Day, for one thing you have done,
It’s actually not the mince pie, though devouring it was fun,
I came because I heard in this last year you’ve been a star,
You’ve shown you’ve been extremely good and just how kind you are.’

‘I’ve come here, this Christmas Day, you’ve been a smashing kid,
I asked those who are close to you, the kind of things you did.
They said that you’re a brilliant friend, helping others out,
Although you can be cheeky, you hardly ever scream and shout.’

‘I’m here for you, this Christmas Day, cos if the rumour’s true,
You’re always putting others first, that’s the best thing you can do.
And though from time to time a tiny naughty streak arrives,
Whoever you spend time around, you lift up all their lives.’

‘I’ll return, next Christmas Day, but do one thing for me,
The most important act of all, I’m sure we can agree.
All that I would like from you? It’s not what you leave out,
It’s how you treat the ones you’re with, that’s what I’m all about.’

‘So sleep well on this Christmas Day, we’ll see each other soon,
And keep up all the good work, as I fly towards the moon.
Just one last thing I’ll say to you, ignore it if you wish,
Feel free to still leave mince pies… they’re incredibly delish!

Family decorating Christmas tree Family decorating Christmas tree

For more festive sleep advice: Check out our infographic

There we have it — our top tips for falling asleep fast on Christmas Eve. Don’t ruin the big day by struggling to sleep the night before. It’s a fantastic time of year and should be enjoyed by everybody. Merry Christmas! Before you go, take a look at our range of kid’s beds and give the gift of a great night’s sleep this year.

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