Christmas is an exciting time for everyone, but especially for younger children and changes to routines and the anticipation of Christmas day can make getting a good night's sleep difficult. With that in mind, the experts at Sleepseeker have compiled a list of tips to help ensure that your child gets a good night's sleep and is properly rested for all of their favourite Christmas activities.
Anush Pervez, a sleep expert at Sleepseeker, commented: “With the anticipation of Santa’s arrival, extra visits from family and friends and delicious treats supplied throughout the day, getting kids to sleep can be extra difficult during the Christmas holidays, especially on Christmas eve. However, it isn’t impossible, and just by following a few simple steps you can help regulate your child’s sleep schedule and even add an extra sprinkle of festive cheer into their day.”
How to help your child sleep this Christmas:
1. Establish a bedtime routine
It can be nigh on impossible to maintain the same bedtime routine every night in December, with school nativities, carol services and Christmas parties leading to changes in dinner times and bedtimes. However, having two or three non-negotiable steps that can be implemented every night will help your child understand that it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed. This could be anything from a warm bath in the evening with some festive-coloured bubbles to reading a Christmas-themed story before bed.
2. Be mindful of sugar intake
It’s Christmas, so your child is bound to enjoy some festive treats such as chocolate and cookies throughout December. This is a big part of the holiday season and should be enjoyed accordingly, just be mindful of their sugar intake in the evening. Reducing it two to three hours before bedtime will help lower any sugar rush and hyperactivity that could cause difficulty falling asleep.
3. Encourage daytime physical activity
This is especially important when your child breaks up from school. Encourage wintery family walks, visits to the park and days out to see Santa Claus as a way of incorporating festive activities into their day whilst also allowing them to burn off some steam. Keeping your child active during the day will help tire them out and promote a better night's sleep. Outdoor activities are especially important, increasing sunlight and vitamin D exposure which help to regulate your circadian rhythm and regulate sleep.
4. Have a festive snack before bed
Some foods help to lead to a better more restful night's sleep. Snacks such as nuts and cranberries or a glass of milk are sleep-promoting foods which can help your child sleep better and feel more well-rested in the morning. You can even add a bit of extra Christmas joy into their snack by making them Christmas-themed, labelling the nuts and cranberries as reindeer treats and the glass of milk as Santa’s favourite drink.
5. Limit screen time
As always, limiting screen time in the hour before bed helps to improve a night's sleep. The blue light from the screen can interfere with melatonin production and lead to restless sleep. Placing an emphasis on taking a warm bath and reading a Christmas story the hour before bed can be a good break from the Christmas movies and online games and help them wind down.