How to Sleep Deeply on Christmas Eve

Two Methods:During the dayIn the evening and bedtime

Whatever your age, there are often reasons for poor sleep on Christmas Eve. It might be that you've got the giddies, wondering what your gifts are going to be. Or perhaps you're super worried about whether there's enough food or if it'll all get cooked on time, also it could be about you wondering if you bought the correct gifts. Maybe the thought of seeing relatives you don't much get along with is giving you grief, worry and stress. Or perhaps the whole expense of Christmas has kept you awake for nights in a row because you don't know if you will be able to afford anything else.

Whatever your reason, getting a good sleep on Christmas Eve will help to restore your strength and help give you the energy needed to enjoy Christmas Day, when opening gifts and eating dinner. You should try not to fall asleep when doing either of these things, this would suggest that you definitely didn't have enough sleep at all.

Method 1
During the day

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    Delegate tasks. If you're feeling overwhelmed, the worry can really eat you up and prevent sleep. Get everyone helping out with the cleaning, baking, cooking, wrapping, decorating and preparing, just so that you don't feel the stress as much. Each person will have something useful to contribute and it helps to make everyone feel involved instead of left out. And when everyone knows that all the preparations are in place, hopefully everyone will get a good night's sleep and feel happy about it.
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    Try to book a day out with your family. Maybe go to the theatre, or the bowling alley. This will spend a whole day, and will make the time go fast (unless you don't enjoy it). By the time you get home, it will be at least 6pm if you go to the city or into town. Then think about what you have done during the day when you are lying in bed, instead of thinking about christmas day. This will make you eventually drift off to sleep. Remember, these are only tips, this may not work in all situations.
    • Recognize that keeping busy during the day is a good thing but only if you're productive and not simply running around in circles worrying. Check off everything on a To Do list and make the most of the time. If something is trivial or can be done another time, drop it.
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    Eat food that promotes a good sleep. Food itself doesn't necessarily make you sleepy (unless you over-indulge) but there are some foods that are beneficial at helping you to fall asleep better. These include foods rich in vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids and the amino acid tryptophan. Indeed, tryptophan is used by your brain to make sleep-inducing chemicals, in combination with the previously mentioned nutrients. You might want to forget about the beer or cider or wine you are having tonight as this will keep you awake (or anything of fizzy matter). [1] Therefore, for your meals and snacks, have some of these soporific foods:
    • Potatoes (boiled, mashed, baked or steamed); avoid fatty versions such as fries or roasted potatoes
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    • Sliced banana on wholemeal toast or bread
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    • Dates as a snack
    • Wholegrain bread with lettuce.
    • If you know that certain foods cause you to have an upset tummy, avoid having these during Christmas Eve because a rumbling or sore stomach will likely keep you awake.
    • Don't eat a heavy meal on Christmas Eve; keep all meals light and easily digestible.
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    Drink calming and soothing beverages. Warm milk is ideal to help induce sleep or a chamomile tea if you don't like milk. Avoid alcohol, which can make it harder to fall asleep or can cause poor sleep with periods of waking during the night, leaving you unrefreshed the next morning.
    • Other herbal teas of benefit in aiding sleep include lime flower, catnip, lemon balm and hops.[2] Celery seed or valerian teas can also be beneficial.
    • Be sure to empty your bladder before bedtime. Waking up during the night might lead to an inability to fall back asleep again because you know you are awake and you know it is Christmas, this will make you excited and unable to sleep thinking about it and you might start worrying about money again.
    • To make a soothing bedtime drink, add 1 tbsp honey and 1/8 to 1/4 tsp nutmeg to a mug of hot milk and drink right away.
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    Meditate or sit in peace. If you like meditating, use it on Christmas Eve to calm your nerves and to restore a sense of balance. Meditation can be beneficial after you've been rushing around a lot, worrying about things like family feuds and budgets or feeling overwhelmed. It will give you the energy and space to focus better and also help you to handle excitement or stress by putting the extreme feelings into perspective. If you don't know how to meditate, simply find a spot to sit in peace and reflect calmly. Stop doing everything you're doing, stop fidgeting, worrying, doing. Simply sit and give yourself 15 minutes of time out from everything to relax. Any method that dulls the stress and excitement will help to prevent sleeping problems.
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    Exercise some time during Christmas Eve. Exercise for about 30 minutes will help to prepare your body for sleep. Just be sure to avoid vigorous exercise in the last 3 hours before bedtime, as you don't want to be hyped up. An evening walk, run or dog walk is a good way to get some last-minute exercise in.

Method 2
In the evening and bedtime

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    (Children) Plan to go to bed by at least 9 because this will make sure that you are comforted and ready for sleep, even if you don't go to sleep till later, you are relaxed.
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    Plan to go bed at least by midnight. Staying up too late baking, making and shaking won't help your energy levels on Christmas Day. Moreover, you risk making mistakes once you're too tired–– you don't want to mix up Great Uncle Jorge's hearing aid with young Briony's Bratz doll or burn the cookies. Going to bed around 10 or 11 will ensure a restful night's sleep.
    • If you attend Midnight Mass, try to have a nap around midday on Christmas Eve. It'll help give you the energy needed and then you can get a good night's sleep upon returning home from Mass, (or have a sneaky lie in on Christmas morning - better if you don't have kids).
    • Ensure that your room is dark and quiet. Light and noise streaming in can prevent you from sleeping. Also, make sure that the room is nice and airy with windows open because this can help you sleep better with fresh oxygen in your room. If you get cold, close them but staying cool can help you get to sleep quicker (not too cold though).
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    Slow down before bedtime. Rather than racing around finishing last minute touches, be satisfied with what you've already done and leave any leftover chores to the early morning, when you'll feel more awake. Avoid watching TV or listening to head-banging music; you need to relax into a sleeping mindset.
    • Get one of your favorite blankets and curl up with a good book. Preferably choose a book that takes your mind off all the excitement and/or worry about the next day. i.e make sure you don't read Christmas books or watch Christmas movies as this can cause in excitement.
    • Spend time with a pet. Dogs are great cuddle buddies, so are cats! Take your dog for a walk––it'll take your mind off things and get some good exercise in.
    • Call, text or visit friends. They're probably feeling similar to you and the distraction can be helpful. However, if you sense that your friend is too busy, don't keep them too long or you might increase their stress levels if they feel obliged to keep talking to you.
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    Take a warm bath. A warm bath before bedtime can sooth and relax you enough to aid sleep. The addition of a calming bath oil such as lavender will heighten the effect. (See "Tips" below for more bath oil suggestions.)
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    Place soothing scents under your pillow. To help with sleep, use herbs and scents that have been traditionally associated with sleeping aids. Add some lavender scent or a lavender filled sachet to your pillow to release its odor when you place your head on it. Other suitable herbs include lime flower, chamomile, catnip, lemon balm and hops.[3]
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    If you find yourself too agitated to sleep, get up and do something different for a half hour. For example, go into another room and read or do some yoga poses. Keep the lights low and avoid doing anything stimulating like watching games or sending messages on Facebook. Avoid the temptation to go and do more Christmas preparations or you might end up not going back to bed. You can also keep yourself distracted by telling yourself 'the faster I go to bed the quicker I get presents'. Say that over and over, kind of just like counting sheep. So hopefully you get a good night's rest. One more thing that you can do is set an alarm clock and say 'the faster I go to sleep the more hours of sleep I get', just in case the part about present keeps you even wider awake. Now when you do the timer, your brain is racing to get to sleep because, your brain assumes that if you don't get sleep you will lose the race. Time your activity and return to bed a half hour later, hopefully distracted enough to fall asleep now.
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    If you find yourself unable for any of these to work. Talk to your teddy (children) about your holiday that might be coming up or talk to the teddy about something other than Christmas. If you are an adult, talk to your partner or get them to snuggle up with you somewhere.


  • Avoid taking a nap during the day. This can keep you awake at night.
  • Try to keep away from busy stores and last-minute crowds. This can wind you up and leave you feeling flustered, edgy and angry, making it hard to get your tasks completed without worrying or feeling fatigued.
  • Play peaceful music in the background during the day, this will relax you.
  • Suitable bath oils for inducing calm include lavender, Roman chamomile, frankincense, neroli and rose oils.[4]
  • Try waking up earlier, so you're tired when it's time to go to bed. (this may not work all the time)

Things You'll Need

  • Soporific food
  • Suitable drinks
  • Dark, quiet, warm sleeping space

Sources and Citations

  1. Jenni Bruce and Cathy Meeus, Curing Everyday Ailments the Natural Way, p. 335, (2000), ISBN 1-876689-78-1
  2. Jenni Bruce and Cathy Meeus, Curing Everyday Ailments the Natural Way, p. 335, (2000), ISBN 1-876689-78-1
  3. Jenni Bruce and Cathy Meeus, Curing Everyday Ailments the Natural Way, p. 336, (2000), ISBN 1-876689-78-1
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