How to get your children to sleep on Christmas Eve – FOUR methods

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Tonight, most households will be abuzz with expectations, as adults start wrapping presents and children imagine what those could be. For some of them, the excitement may prove too much, and parents may encounter bleary-eyed tots in their bedroom doors from the wee hours of December 25. There are several ways to help both adults and youngsters settle in for the evening.

Rosie Stockley, the founder and CEO of Mamawell, a pre and post-natal fitness firm, provided methods for calming down before bed.

Her four top tips cover the most vital aspects of preparing for a restful evening, including food, exercise and state of mind.

And each one doubles up as an activity parents can enjoy with their children on Christmas Eve.

Those who follow them should find the next day a breeze, not the exhausting experience it can become.

Find a routine

Ms Stockley advised that people find a “wind-down routine” that “works for you and fits your lifestyle”.

She recommended they take 45 minutes to “set the mood” for sleep.

For adults, she recommended:

  • Curating a calming playlist
  • Preparing a herbal tea as they get ready for bed
  • Make time to read a couple of chapters from their favourite book
  • Listen to some guided meditation
  • Dim the bedroom lighting

Parents can adjust the routine for children to include:

  • A playlist of their favourite songs
  • Making them a glass of warm milk
  • Reading them a book before bedtime

Reduce sugar intake

Ms Stockley said it is best to indulge “in moderation” before bed.

Sugar is a stimulant, and the fitness guru said it causes a “hormonal reaction that may not be conducive to sleep”.

Refined sugars cause rapid blood sugar swings in young children, who will ultimately sleep much later.

Don’t eat too late

If people want to eat before bed, keep the sugar low and don’t leave it too late.

Midnight snacks are off the table for those in pursuit of a good night’s rest, as they need “time to start processing food before winding down for bed”, Ms Stockley said.

Children, the youngest of whom are still developing their digestive systems, are more prone to indigestion if they eat before bed.


Adults often use exercise for general fitness levels, but strenuous activity is vital for good sleep.

Ms Stockley recommended they partake in gentle exercise such as yoga before bed.

People should avoid “high intensity” exercise classes that trigger the “fight or flight” response right before sleeping.

Activities like these are better earlier in the day, with a game of catch, a visit to the playground or more providing a valuable opportunity to tire children out before bed.

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