Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, apart from your son and daughter tossing and turning in bed…
It can be difficult to get your children to fall asleep at the best of times, but Christmas Eve is the worst of all with the anticipation of Santa’s visit the haul of exciting new toys, chocolates and treats that this promises! But fear not, as Sealy UK’s Chief Sleep Officer, Neil Robinson, shares his top tips to help you get your kids to sleep well before Santa arrives this Christmas Eve.
Stick to their set bed times
Although it’s tempting to allow children to stay up later and sleep in longer throughout the holidays, this can actually make it harder for them to drift off at night. Altering their bed time can actually have the same effect as jet lag, meaning it will throw off their body clock and make it harder for them to drop off and stay asleep. Try to stick to set bedtimes throughout the Christmas period to make it easier for little ones to drop off.
Avoid sugary foods too close to bedtime
Make sure your children don’t get tempted by the cookies and mince pies you’re leaving out for Santa! While planning a snack for your child about 45 minutes to one hour before bed is a good idea to help them sleep through the night, avoid surgery foods as this could over stimulate them and have the opposite effect. Instead opt for a healthy snack; wholegrain toast, an apple, or some crackers.
Create a calming bedtime routine
Christmas Eve and all of its anticipation makes for a very exciting time, so introducing a pattern of calming activities before bedtime is crucial in helping them to drift off. In particular, a bath before bed can help promote sleep as the drop in body temperature after the bath mimics the body’s natural decrease in temperature as it prepares itself for sleep, making your child more likely to feel sleepy.
Banish electronic devices
Although it may be tempting to let your children have some downtime in front of a Christmas movie on the TV or an iPad, the blue light emitted from the screens of these devices can have a negative impact on your child’s sleep, as it can impacts melatonin levels, the sleep-inducing hormone. By creating a technology-free environment 30 minutes before bedtime, you can help to create a sleep-friendly zone. Try a Christmas themed bedtime story instead to help your little ones nod off instead.
Practice what you preach
It’s all well and good tucking in your children nice and early, but if they can hear the rest of the family staying up and singing along to some festive tunes, they might feel like they’re missing out and not want to sleep. You have two options here – either introduce a family-wide bedtime on Christmas Eve or ensure that once the kids are tucked up in bed, the noise levels come down accordingly.
And if all else fails, you can try the go-to line – Santa won’t visit until you’re asleep!