Christmas is the perfect time to let our hair down after a tough 12 months. But it can also feel stressful and overwhelming, particularly with coronavirus worries hanging around in the background. There’s loads to think about at this time of year, so for the UK’s 16 million insomniacs this isn’t always the season to be jolly.
But luckily it doesn’t have to be this way. By spotting the signs and taking some simple steps, you can have fun and still get the restorative sleep you need this festive season.
Perfect Christmas or simply good enough?
We’re bombarded every year with adverts showing perfect family Christmases dusted in snow. But the reality for most of us is far from picture perfect. Family politics, financial worries and endless Christmas shopping can all take its toll on our sleep. So why give the glossy images a rest and go for something fun and simple. Embrace the imperfection of the season and avoid planning every gift, meal and decoration down to the last detail.
Make time for yourself
All the craziness of getting ready for the big day can mean there’s precious little time to relax. But making time for yourself will give you a chance to unwind and sleep better. Perhaps get stuck into a good book, have a bath with some gorgeous relaxation candles or bundle up for a winter walk. Many people also take up a hobby like knitting or yoga; anything that will clear your mind is great (or at least stop it from racing at bed time).
The festive munchies
Obviously one of the best things about Christmas is all the yummy food. And after the year we’ve had we deserve a calorific blow out!
But if you’re finding that sleep is hard to come by over this festive period, consider trying foods that are lower in fat and sugar. This is because sugar especially will trigger insulin production in the body, which then increases cortisol levels (the hormone that gives us the energy rush). This new found energy is lethal to our chances of nodding off, so be aware of what you’re tucking in to. Plus, remember not too eat too late in the evening as lying down on a full stomach can easily lead to acid reflux which isn’t exactly sleep-inducing.
With a few days off work coming up (hopefully), Christmas is the ideal time to turn off our laptops and tablets and go back to basics. And no checking your emails!
Instead spend time on relaxing and enjoying the company of friends and family before work starts again in January. Oh and whatever you do, avoid the temptation to stare at your phone or tablet in bed at night! The blue light these devices emit sends a signal to your brain that it’s day time and you shouldn’t be sleeping. Before you know it, 3am will have rolled round and you’ll still be wide awake.
Think about the drink
Again, alcohol is a big part of Christmas for many of us and a festive drink or three will be high on the agenda. But don’t forget that just like food, alcohol can have a negative impact on our sleep.
This is because alcohol has been shown to interfere with our sleep phases. When we sleep, we experience two main sleep phases, called REM and non-REM sleep. It’s deep REM sleep that is most beneficial, when most of our cognitive and physical restoration occurs. Adults have, on average, around five or six REM sleep cycles a night, but alcohol can reduce this number to as low as two. So although you may not lose sleep in terms of the number of hours, your sleep quality itself will be lower.
If this sounds familiar, it may well be worth reducing your alcohol intake, having a break or switching to lower alcohol versions of your usual favourites. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated too – your body will thank you for it!
Ready to browse our range of fantastic, luxurious pillows, bedding and sleep accessories?
At Kally Sleep we’re sure you’ll find something perfect this Christmas. Whether it’s for yourself or someone you care about, all our products make the ideal gifts too. From our supportive side, back and front sleeper pillows to cosy baby nests, pregnancy pillows and much more, here’s to a silent night for everyone!