Don’t lose sleep this Christmas

The closer we get to the Christmas holidays, the more things need to be done to make sure everyone has an enjoyable time. But all those pre-holiday preparations can take their toll on your sleep, says The Sleep Council spokesperson, Lisa Artis.

“Christmas is the one time of the year when the sleep routine of just about everyone in Britain goes off the rails,” she explains. “Christmas shopping and its associated costs, family gatherings, social engagements, food and alcohol – can all put a strain on you and your sleeping patterns.”

To help make sure you don’t lose any sleep during the run-up to Christmas (and during the holidays too), The Sleep Council has put together a sleep survival plan.

“We’re not suggesting you play Scrooge and don’t party or have any mince pies,” adds Lisa. “But if you’re not getting as much rest as you need and you’re starting to feel it, try following these simple tips to help yourself to get a better night’s sleep.”

Stick to your normal sleep times   It may be tempting to stay up much later than usual before and during the Christmas holidays. But try as much as possible to keep to your regular sleep hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, can programme your body to sleep more soundly.

Plan ahead   Many people spend weeks worrying about getting the Christmas shopping done. The trick to not worrying is to begin early. Start stocking up with supplies as soon as possible – don’t leave it all until Christmas eve. Also buy a few small gifts as emergency supplies. This could save you from embarrassment should someone turn up unexpectedly with a present for you.

Create a restful sleeping environment   Christmas decorations help to get everyone in the festive spirit, but don’t be tempted to put them in every room. Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep, and should be neither too hot, nor too cold. Also try to make sure your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible.

Stay active   Regular moderate exercise such as swimming or walking can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it may keep you awake. A good brisk walk is ideal to stop you feeling sluggish after a hefty Christmas dinner.

Avoid stimulants If you feel tired during the day because you had a late night, try not to compensate for the lack of sleep by dosing yourself up on caffeine (tea, coffee, cola, chocolate), especially during the evening. Caffeine interferes with falling asleep and prevents deep sleep. So before bed, have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.

Practise moderation   It can be difficult at Christmas time, but try not to over-indulge on turkey, mince pies and mulled wine. That’s because too much food or alcohol – especially late at night – can play havoc with sleep patterns, not to mention give you indigestion. Alcohol may help you fall asleep initially, but having too much to drink will interrupt your sleep later on in the night. Instead, try to switch to drinking just water a couple of hours before you go to bed.

Make peace   Arguments can be common during the Christmas holidays, but always try to resolve them before going to bed. If you don’t, you probably won’t be in the right frame of mind for sleep. Also keep some ear plugs handy to block out the sound of your partner’s snoring (especially if they’ve been overdoing the eating and drinking).

Wind down before bed   Try to relax and insist on some ‘me’ time before turning in. The run-up to Christmas can be stressful, so give both your mind and body time to wind down by having a warm bath, listening to some quiet music or doing some yoga. For more tips on relaxing before bed, watch this Sleep Council video. Meanwhile, if you can’t sleep, try not to lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleep again.

Get comfy   Finally, for a good night’s sleep you need a comfortable bed. According to The Sleep Council, it’s difficult to get deep, restful sleep on one that’s too soft, too hard, too small or too old. It should also be as big as possible so your partner rarely disturbs you. If it’s time to buy a new one, make sure get a bed with the NBF Approved logo.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also offer lots of tips on getting a better night’s sleep as well as recommend products that may help with snoring. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.