How to sleep well during the festive season
One of the best things about the festive season is the food and drink, right? Eating whatever you want, whenever you want, and popping the champagne as soon as you wake up on Christmas morning, anything goes!
But are there some Christmas treats that keep us awake at night? Or perhaps make us drop off earlier than usual? We spoke to sleep expert, Karl Rollinson, about the Christmas foods that have the biggest impact on our time in bed.
One of the best parts of Christmas is having a big hearty breakfast to start the special day but this meal is way before its time for bed, so why would it have an impact on your sleep? Karl says this can affect it quite a lot: “You will just be adding to your food consumption with a big fry up before all the festive food and drink later on. This could mean doubling your usual daily intake of food, which your poor old digestive system will have to work on overtime to digest, and then you will struggle to sleep come time for bed!”
Instead, we suggest keeping to a light breakfast such as toast, cereal or fruit and saving eating for the main event!
After a heavy meal, our digestive system has to work in overdrive, meaning the rest of the body shuts down and initiates a nap. Would it be Christmas without someone snoozing on the sofa after the meal?
Karl says: “Try and go for a long walk after dinner, preferably while it’s still light. You will increase your heart rate, get some revitalising fresh air and the light will help you will produce Vitamin D, which is great for quality sleep!”
It’s not Christmas without advent calendars, selection boxes and tins of chocolates! These are easy to gorge on however, leading to bloating and sickness. Karl informs us: “Sugar also affects the production of the mood stabiliser serotonin. We need serotonin to convert into the sleep hormone melatonin in order to stay in sync with our sleep/wake cycle. So not only do we feel low, but we can’t sleep either.”
Karl advises: “Exercise a bit of discipline when it comes to sweet treats. There will never be a healthy alternative to Quality Streets and Celebrations, but just be mindful and enjoy each treat slowly. This will be much more enjoyable and consuming less will help with your night’s sleep.”
As well as the exciting festive foods over Christmas, we also have different habits that change our routines and influence our sleeping patterns. Late nights and planning for the big day can indirectly disrupt your sleep, here’s some advice on how to combat this.
Keep your bedtime routine
Our body clocks get used to daily routines, and when we have time off work over Christmas this is disrupted, this will also affect us when we go back to our routine after New Year’s. As well as going to bed, timings of eating meals and exercising can also affect our circadian rhythm.
Keep alarms on over Christmas and still sleep and wake up at usual times, even if you’re just lounging around in your pyjamas watching films with the family. Try to keep the same mealtimes as well and exercise as you usually would for optimal sleep.
Write down plans and worries
Getting presents for family and children, as well as the food shop and turkey orders can add extra pressure in December. This can lead to over thinking and worrying that can keep you up at night.
If endless lists and planning festivities are keeping you up, get out of bed and go write everything down in a notebook. Then you know you can look at this tomorrow, and your mind won’t need to run in overdrive to remember everything.
However you are spending Christmas and whatever you like to eat, the most important thing is to relax and enjoy the festive season. Just make sure to be mindful of eating habits so you aren’t left with uncomfortable and restless nights, adding stress to one of the happiest times of the year.
Our tips will, of course, be no good without a great quality mattress to give you the best night’s sleep possible. Check out our affordable range of beds and mattresses, many of which can be delivered next day.