Christmas Do's and Don'ts

The silly season can be a very fun part of our social calendars and often at this time of the year we are all tired, crawling over the finish line. I thought this week I would discuss some of the dos and don’ts of sleep. I don’t want to ruin the festive cheer but allow you to make informed decisions. These points are broad and apply to all age groups including us as adults. Some of the don’ts are obvious for children such as caffeine and alcohol consumption but others may take you by surprise.

In sleep land we discuss ‘clean sleeping.’ This is a fancy term for optimising our sleep and making it the best we can. When we discuss sleep it isn’t only about the quantity of sleep we have but also the quality. There are different types of sleep, simply put active and quiet sleep. We need both of these types of sleep as they serve very different purposes for our body. Behaviours during the day, and especially before bedtime, can have a major impact on your sleep. Clean sleeping can promote healthy sleep; I have shared some of the key points. 

Do’s

  • Meals need to be 2-3 hours from bed, digestion competes with sleeping
  • Same bedtime and awake times
  • Comfortable sleep environment including light/ temperature/ noise
  • Learn to relax- stretching, yoga, mindfulness and breathing
  • Minimize vigorous exercise leading up to bedtime
  • Bathing/showering lowers your body temperature and sleepiness is bought on by a rise in body temperature. Have a gap between these activities
  • Ideally no naps commencing after 3pm
  • Convince children that it is important to sleep well- reward them for complying with bedtime rules

Don’ts

  • No TV/ computer games before bed
  • No mobile phone usage in bed, phones should be at least two metres from your head
  • Eat a whole lot of sugar and expect to go to sleep!
  • No coke/caffeine, save it for the morning
  • Alcohol….

In regards to alcohol, it inhibits our body’s ability to have good nights sleep. I am not going to explore this in detail but you may notice if you drink alcohol your quality of sleep is not as good as the nights where you do not have that glass of wine. We all have the well-meaning mother who says have a glass of wine; it will help you to sleep. It probably comes from a good place but instead it might be better to do a mindfulness exercise.

So in summary a balanced diet, a little bit of exercise, a very dark room, cool room temperature all help to optimise sleep and fortunately/unfortunately alcohol is a big no no!

This will be by last blog until the new year, hope everyone has a safe and fun festive season BUT most importantly I hope everyone catches a few ZZZZZ’s. Remember you can give the gift of sleep for Christmas, its not to late to organise your gift voucher!