Christmas will be a bit different this year, but good sleep should still be a priority
In any other year, Christmas comes with a full schedule of meeting up with friends, eating lots of food, and indulging in more than a few festive tipples. However, like everything about 2020, Christmas is set to be a bit different this year.
With restrictions in place across the country, meeting up with family and friends is limited to Christmas Day (at least, as this article is being written!). This means that you’ll probably have more time on your hands than usual over the festive period, and this time could be difficult for many. Looking after yourself should be a priority.
And one of the best ways to care for both your physical and mental health during this strange Christmas period is by prioritising good quality sleep. Fewer festivities mean more time to get your sleep habits in check and set yourself up for a healthy sleep routine in 2021.
Let’s take a look at some of the main considerations for sleeping well over Christmas – from avoiding overindulgence to tackling issues that may be impacting your sleep.
Celebrate in moderation
This may sound like unnecessary advice given the restrictions in place, but it is still Christmas, and chances are you will still be enjoying your fair share of festive food and drink over the next few days.
This in itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s natural to indulge at Christmas, and we all deserve a few treats and a bit of fun after what has been a very tough year. But being aware of what you eat and drink will help you rest easier over the festive season, too.
Christmas foods tend to be very high in sugar and saturated fats. This can cause spikes in our blood sugar levels and increased levels of inflammation, both of which can impact your sleep.
If you can, try not to eat too late in the evening. Give your body a chance to process and digest the food you’ve eaten before going to bed. As for drinks, try having a glass of water between every alcoholic beverage. Booze may help you get to sleep quicker, but it also significantly damages the quality of your sleep, and leaves you dehydrated.
Acknowledge stress and anxiety
Even in a normal year, Christmas is full of stress. One 2017 report found that 27% of women lose sleep due to festive stress, and in 2020 this stress is likely to be even more palpable. Although there is less to plan for, there is also a lot of anxiety surrounding the health and wellbeing of ourselves, our loved ones, our extended family and our friends. Every day seems to bring fresh negative headlines, and this is bound to impact your overall mood.
There are several things you can do to stop stress affecting your sleep. Try giving yourself dedicated worry time during the day – 10 or 15 minutes to write down everything that’s worrying you and get it out of your system. It’s important to acknowledge and face the things that are causing you stress rather than burying them.
Create a routine and stick to it
This is true at any time of year, but especially at Christmas when any sense of order seems to go out the window, and we have trouble remembering what day of the week it is. Make sure you stick to a consistent and sensible sleep schedule that allows you to get your seven to nine hours, even if it means going to bed and waking up later than usual. A routine helps to train your body, so that it knows when to use energy and when to slow things down. Over time, this will encourage you to sleep throughout the night, putting you in good stead to face the day ahead.