How to sleep well during the festive season

Most people realise the importance of getting the sleep they need for optimum health and wellbeing. But during the festive season it can be difficult to get a really good night’s sleep every night.

And it isn’t just children who get over-excited and unable to sleep at this time of year. According to The Sleep Council, Christmas can be hard on adults’ ability to sleep well too.

“Christmas is the one time of the year when sleep routines go out of the window,” says The Sleep Council’s Lisa Artis.

“It can be a magical time, especially for children, but it can also be quite stressful with Christmas shopping, money worries, family gatherings and social engagements. Add in the food and alcohol, and it can leave you feeling quite drained.”

If skimping on sleep means you’re not feeling your best, you could miss out on some of that festive season fun. So here are some tips courtesy of The Sleep Council to help you sleep well through to January:

Stick to the same sleep times – It may be difficult when there’s so much to stay up late for, but try as much as possible to keep regular bedtime hours. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time, all the time, will programme your body to sleep better.

Plan ahead – Cut down on last-minute shopping worries. Start stocking up with supplies during the weeks leading up to Christmas while you do your regular shopping. As for presents, a great tip is to have an emergency supply – just a few small gifts to save you from embarrassment should someone arrive unexpectedly with a present for you. Once you worry less, you’ll sleep better.

Keep Christmas out of the bedroom – Your bedroom should be a restful sleeping environment that’s kept for rest and sleep – it should also be neither too hot, nor too cold, and as quiet and dark as possible. So keep your Christmas decorations in other parts of your home.

Stay as active as possible – Winter weather, late nights and all that extra food and drink can make you feel tired or sluggish, giving you an easy excuse to skip the gym. But at this time of year it’s as important as ever to keep your activity levels up. Even a quick walk can help relieve the day’s stresses and strains. But try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. A good brisk walk is also ideal to help stop you feeling sluggish after a hefty Christmas dinner.

Watch how much you eat and drink – It’s hard not to overindulge on turkey, mince pies and mulled wine at this time of year. But too much food or alcohol – especially late at night – can play havoc with your sleep patterns. And while alcohol may help you doze off initially, later on in the night it will interrupt your sleep. Try to switch to non-alcoholic drinks a couple of hours before bedtime.

Go easy on caffeine – Try not to make up for a lack of sleep by filling up on stimulants such as caffeine in tea, coffee, cola and chocolate, especially during the evening. Caffeine interferes with falling asleep and prevents deep sleep. Have a hot milky drink or herbal tea instead.

Find time to relax – The run-up to Christmas can be stressful, so give your mind and body time to wind down by having some ‘me’ time before going to bed. Try having a warm, relaxing bath, listen to some soothing music or do some yoga or deep breathing.

Meanwhile, the saying ‘never go to bed angry’ applies at this time of year as much as at any other. Christmas can cause family stress, but make sure you resolve any arguments before you turn in, as an ongoing conflict isn’t going to put you in the right frame of mind for sleep.

And if you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again.

If you’re having problems getting a good night’s sleep, whether during the festive season or at any other time, your local Careway pharmacist can give you lots more tips that you may find useful.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.