Sleep expert gives parents top tips on getting children to sleep on Christmas Eve

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Ask any parent – bedtime can be a battle on even the most routine of nights.

Add to that the excitement of the big man himself sneaking into your home and delivering all kinds of goodies beneath the Christmas tree, and how can you expect them to go down without a fuss?

Despite the excitement, a sleep expert has insisted that children should go to bed early and avoid using technology on to ensure they well – trust us, it’s for the best, even if they might not agree!

Little ones often struggle to sleep on December 24 as they wait for the big day ahead, but the sleep experts at Bed Kingdom have shared some tips and tricks to enjoy a silent night before Father Christmas does his rounds.

Bedroom furniture retailer Bed Kingdom has reminded families to keep activities calm on Christmas Eve.

The company’s top tips include;

Fill the morning with exercise 

Whether it’s a family walk or perhaps their favourite sport, taking the little ones for some morning exercise will promote better sleep at night by burning off energy. If you’re lucky enough to see some sunshine, this is a bonus, as it helps to set the body’s natural clock for better sleep. 

Keep them away from sugary foods after midday 

While it may seem a tricky task, it will prove much more of a challenge trying to get the children to sleep if they’ve had high-sugar foods near bedtime. By causing excess energy production, they will be overstimulated and therefore be kept awake resulting in disruptions during the night. Instead, try sugar-free jelly or juice with no added sugar if you need to satisfy their sweet tooth after midday. 

Keeping them up late will prevent a good night’s sleep 

While it may seem like a later bedtime will help your child to sleep better at night, it will in fact do the opposite. Young children who are overtired will find it much more difficult to get some shut-eye, and it will only prevent them from getting enough sleep if you plan on waking up particularly early on Christmas Day. 

Give them a sleep-inducing snack before bed 

It’s a must to make sure your child isn’t going to sleep on an empty stomach – and if you have many activities planned on the day, they may be too occupied to realise just how hungry they are. A late-night snack will ensure they don’t have any awakenings during the night, but it’s important to choose something that induces sleep rather than fights it, like fatty and sugary foods. Bananas are both healthy and sleep-inducing as they calm the body and relax the muscles; pair it with a glass of milk, as this will make it much easier to rest due to containing tryptophan, a sleep-promoting amino acid. 

Keep things calm on the evening 

If your way of celebrating the festivities as a family includes lots of activities, it will work in your favour to keep these for the afternoon and have a calm atmosphere for the evening. Having an earlier dinner than usual will not only help the little ones prepare for bedtime, but it’s one way to keep them occupied without having to get them too excited – and having bath time afterwards is an extra way to fill the time and relax them. 

Don’t alter their night-time routine 

Your children will be aware that something is missing if you alter their night-time routine. You may think that sacrificing something like a bedtime story so that they can stay up for a little while longer will help to ease the excitement out of their system, but their routine becomes a signal for sleep – so it’s vital to not make any drastic changes. 

Avoid using technology too close to bedtime 

If you plan on watching a Christmas film together as a family on the evening to keep things calm, it’s best to switch the screens off around two hours before your children’s bedtime. Blue light, which is emitted from technology screens like mobile phones, laptops, and TVs, can suppress the body’s hormone melatonin which is responsible for making us sleepy. So, it’s best to complete any technology related activities before the bedtime routine. 

Don’t forget to countdown before bedtime 

Counting down until bedtime allows your kids to prepare for sleep, for example an hour, then half an hour, and fifteen minutes prior. Not only will you avoid the protest to staying up for longer, but it helps them transition into their bedtime routine easily. 

A spokesperson from Bed Kingdom said: “Spending Christmas with the family is something that many of us look forward to all year, but having little ones around makes it that little bit more special. However, it can sometimes feel as though there’s nothing to prepare them for bedtime on Christmas Eve, resulting in a restless night’s sleep.

“Thankfully, there are several tips and tricks to keep them calm and avoid any tired children on Christmas Day.”