9 ways to help your children to sleep well on Christmas Eve

Ho ho ho, Santa's on his way!

Christmas Eve is just about the most exciting night of the year for children as they eagerly await Santa Claus' arrival and count down the hours until they can celebrate and open presents in the morning.

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But all that excitement can prove particularly disruptive when it comes to sleep, with many little ones wanting to delay bedtime or waking often through the night in the hope that it's time to start the day.

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Fortunately, help is at hand from the sleep experts at Bed Kingdom and thedozyowl.co.uk, who have shared their tips for tired parents to settle children for a peaceful and restful night before Christmas…

How to help your children fall asleep on Christmas Eve

 1) Do something active as a family on Christmas Eve

Walton Holcomb from thedozyowl.co.uk says: "Having a family outing pre-Christmas is a fantastic way to bond and get in the spirit before the busy day. After an action-packed day of fun, your children are sure to be sleepier than usual when the time comes to tuck them into bed."

Get outdoors and wear them out!

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2) Something nice to drink before bedtime

Did you know that cherry juice is currently being trialled as a cure for insomnia due to the presence of melatonin and tryptophan which helps people sleep? Walton reveals: "Cherry Juice is a great option for children as they tend to have a sweet tooth, meaning it'll be more enticing, not to mention the festive red colour is sure to help make this a suitable Christmas treat’.

Hot chocolate is another good option. "The sleep benefits from a nice warm mug of hot chocolate are mostly psychological - a lovely relaxing warm drink can really put you in the right mental state to drift off," he recommends. "Although not something you should give your children regularly, as a treat at Christmas it could be the perfect way to help your child sleep."

A hot drink will hopefully make them sleepy

3) Lead by example

It's tempting to stay up, have a drink and watch a festive movie, but if you want your kids to fall asleep then this tip may be a good idea. Walton suggests: "Children will be a lot more inclined to go to bed on time if they see their parents have also gone to bed. It also helps to alleviate the feeling they are missing out on fun if you’re also in bed." Or simply pretend to go to bed then get up again when they're asleep!

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4) Take their mind off Christmas

Walton says: "Taking your child’s mind away from the festivities and onto something else can have a soothing effect. The traditional and timeless way of doing this is through a bedtime story. This distraction and slowing down of pace should help your little one drop off."

A bedtime story always does the trick (here's hoping!)

5) Wake them up early on Christmas Eve

If you're lucky enough to have a child that lies in, you could try waking them up earlier on Christmas Eve morning. "Changing your child’s schedule to wake up earlier on Christmas day can ensure your child is ready to get to bed earlier," says Walton.

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6) Keep them away from sugary foods after midday

There may be lots of tempting treats and chocolates on offer around Christmas, but try to limit your children's consumption throughout the day.

"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," a spokesperson for Bed Kingdom says.

7) Keep things calm in the evening

These tricks will help your children sleep soundly on Christmas Eve

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 in the evening. The Bed Kingdom experts recommend having an earlier dinner than usual, as it will not only help the little ones prepare for bedtime, but it will also keep them occupied without having to get them too excited. Having bath time afterwards is an extra way to fill the time and relax them.

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8) 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, the Bed Kingdom team recommend.

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.

9) Stick to your normal bedtime routine

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.

Instead, stick to their normal bedtime and routine, as it is a good signal for sleep, helping them to unwind and rest.

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