The countdown to a dreamy Christmas is now well and truly underway. Trees are up, turkeys are ordered and a recent sprinkling of snow all adds up to a recipe for happy holidays. But one thing that does not come guaranteed in perfect gift-wrapped parcels is sleep.
Christmas might be the time to be jolly but for those of us who struggle with shut-eye it can trigger profound challenges. Why? Because excited little people’s alarm clocks switch to 4am; family entertaining requires late night kitchen shifts, in-law apprehension reaches red alert and mince pie mania begins.
All this can add up to a sharp spike in sleep deprivation.
Understandably, the time-honored remedy is to wash it all down with another bottle of soporific Chablis and hope for the best, which is all too often less than 6 hours a night. So, for those of us who want to rejoice AND rejuvenate this year, Simba asked its resident sleep elves to give you the gift of seasonal slumber with a special 12 Days of Sleep Guide. If you’re dreaming of a Calm Christmas and Happy New Year cut and paste it to your bedside cabinet. So altogether now: On the First Day of Christmas, Simba gave to me………
1. A clock: We know it’s tough but try as much as possible to keep regular hours.
2. A thermostat: Create an ambient sleeping environment, which is neither too hot, nor too cold.
3. Darkness: Make sure your bedroom stays as quiet and dark as possible which means leaving the decorations and lights in the lounge.
4. A big bed: It will help to make sure your partner doesn’t disturb you.
5. Herbal Tea: Too much caffeine to compensate for lack of sleep will make it more difficult to drift off. It will also prevent deep sleep so have a herbal tea or hot milky drink instead.
6. Water: Of course, alcohol is going to be on the agenda but it will interrupt your sleep pattern so try to swap wine for water a couple of hours before bedtime.
7. A yoga mat: Every sleep struggler should have one. This little square of mindfulness will offer you sanctuary in the most stressful of homes. Lay some ‘me time’ down on it and breathe…. just breathe.
8. Ear plugs: Keep them close by to block out the sound of your partner’s pudding-fuelled snoring.
9. Aromatherapy oil: Just a few drops of lavender on a Christmas Eve pillow will help you float into the next day feeling ready to face the in-laws.
10. Books: Swap your screen for a beguiling bestseller at least an hour before bedtime. The reduction in blue light exposure will help you sleep, while a good story will help enrich your soul.
11. A blender: Put the eggnog to one side and whizz up a smoothie containing almond milk, bananas, almonds, raw cacao and almond butter. It’s rich in tryptophan, which will encourage melatonin production.
12. A notebook: Santa’s letter is important but writing down bothersome thoughts that keep you awake will help put your mind at ease before you attempt sleep.