Don’t let poor sleep ruin your life

Sleep and Christmas

How sleep can help you cope with Christmas

Many ‘sleep experts’ have a puritanical streak and will tell you to give up this and that pleasure so that you can sleep better. However, this is not the sort of advice you want to hear at Christmas. Christmas is the time to eat, drink and be merry and good sleep can actually help you enjoy the festive season more.

Good sleep at Christmas is important for:

  • The optimal functioning of the immune system. Over Christmas you are liable to be socialising more than usual, thus increasing the risk of getting a cough or cold. Being sleepy and run down will make it more likely that you’ll catch whatever is ‘going around’ this Christmas.
  • Maintaining your sense of humour and making you feel happy. I’m sure we can agree that these are important aspects in getting the most enjoyment out of Christmas.
  • Moderating your appetite and your craving for sugary and fatty foods. If you sleep well, you will be less tempted to over-eat and overindulge and therefore less liable to put on the pounds.
  • Helping you control your emotions. Spending time with friends and family can be wonderful but it can also be tough. Better sleep will enhance your mood and ability to cope.
  • Helping you cope better with stress. Things tend to get a little hectic over the holiday season and good sleep can help you manage better.
  • Making you feel more positive. Good sleep can increase your empathy towards and positively about the people you are with.
  • Making you more tolerant. and less liable to overact to the smallest provocation.
  • Helping you to support your children. Stopping children from getting over-sleepy and fractious, can contribute to the happiness of one and all.

We all know how stressful the festive season can be and good sleep is the best remedy.

Late nights are an inevitable part of the Christmas season, but that shouldn’t be a worry. One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep is to fix your getting-up time. Regardless of how late you go to bed, aim to get up at the same time each morning. This is an effective strategy because your body and brain actually start waking up approximately 90 minutes before you get up. If your brain and body know when you are going to wake, they can get prepare effectively, allowing you to hit the ground running. If you wake up at irregular times, you may experience a feeling of grogginess and fatigue on waking, what we call ‘sleep inertia’, and no-one wants to feel below par at Christmas.

The late nights and eating and drinking to excess can also lead to the need for an afternoon nap. Afternoon naps can be helpful and the tip for napping is to either go for a 20-minute ‘powernap’ or a 2hr nap, anything in between means that you will probably wake during deep sleep, and naps of this duration can cause you to wake feeling much worse than you did before the nap.

The new you can wait until the New Year; eat, drink, be merry and sleep well.

We believe that the recipe for good sleep at Christmas is a small glass of something warming (port, whiskey, sherry or whatever is your fancy) with a turkey sandwich for supper and one last mince pie, sharing the happiness of the season with your family and friends.

And remember if you don’t sleep Santa won’t be able to bring you your presents.

Further information

  • New Year and Sleep

    It’s that time of year when many of us start to consider our New Year’s resolutions…