How To Sleep On Christmas Eve

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From decking the halls to stuffing the stockings and perfecting your cookie decorations, the holidays are an exciting time for many. Whether it’s that third cup of cocoa or the endless to-do lists running through your mind that are keeping you up at night, you may find that pre-holiday jitters are keeping you up later than usual.

But it’s important to get a good night’s rest, especially the night before Christmas. Read on to find out our latest tips on how the whole family can sleep well on Christmas Eve, ensuring you all have a merry Christmas day!

RELATED: How Does Christmas Morning Affect Your Family’s Sleep Schedule?

Why Is It Hard to Sleep on Christmas Eve?

It’s often hard for young kids to go to sleep on Christmas Eve because anticipation of Christmas morning makes them too excited to relax and fall asleep. Some kids might even try to stay up on purpose, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus. But it is also hard for adults to get a good night’s sleep before Christmas day.

Often, anxiety over making sure everything goes smoothly on Christmas morning can keep adults up worrying, especially if they’re hosting family for the holidays. Stress over visiting family or making it to multiple celebrations in one day might also keep them up at night. If you hosted or attended Christmas Eve parties, your bedtime routine may have been interrupted by the stress of entertaining guests. Plus, if you drank during the celebrations, alcohol may also interrupt your typical sleep schedule.

It’s important to get enough rest on Christmas Eve so that you don’t miss out on the excitement of the big day because you’re too tired to enjoy it. Keep reading to learn how to sleep better on Christmas Eve.

How to Sleep on Christmas Eve

There are a few things you can do to help yourself sleep better on Christmas Eve (and on any other night that you’re feeling extra wound up). Take a look at the tips below to learn about how planning ahead, creating a calming sleep environment, and avoiding certain foods can help you snag some extra time asleep this Christmas Eve.

Avoid Excess Sugar in the Hours Before Bedtime

First thing’s first, you’ll want to avoid excess sugar for a few hours before bedtime. Too much sugar makes it more likely that you will wake up during the night. It can also make it harder to fall asleep. Instead of sugar, try foods containing sleep-inducing amino acids like tryptophan. A glass of milk contains a ton of tryptophan and can help you get a good sleep. So, if young children in your house leave out cookies and milk for Santa, try to eat the cookies a few hours before your bedtime and be sure to drink all your milk!

little girl sleeping with sugar

Want to learn more about sugar and sleep? Check out our How Eating Sugar Influences Sleep guide!

Avoid Caffeine

You should also avoid caffeine after lunchtime the night before Christmas. If you enjoy snuggling under the Christmas tree with a cup of tea or coffee at night, opt for decaf (or go for a hot cocoa instead). Caffeine stays in your body for four to six hours and can make it very difficult to fall asleep at night. It is also a diuretic, which means you may have to get up to use the restroom more often after a late-afternoon coffee. Whenever you need a good night’s rest, you should avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening. Cutting back on your usual caffeine consumption on Christmas Eve is a great way to make it easier to fall asleep. Click the link to learn more about how caffeine affects sleep.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead can be a great way to help you wind down at night. If you have your presents bought and wrapped and have completed other pre-Christmas tasks (like food prep or cleaning in anticipation of guests) you’ll feel much calmer on Christmas Eve. Rather than rushing around on last minute errands, you can snuggle into bed. Sticking to your normal bedtime, and giving yourself plenty of time to wind down is a good way to fall asleep. Plus, not having looming errands or chores that you need to get done the next day can reduce anxiety and make it easier to fall asleep.

Follow Your Regular Sleep Routine

You should also follow your regular bedtime routine on Christmas Eve. Your body clock knows when it’s time for bed, and trying to stay up extra late or go to bed extra early can throw it off. Go to bed at your usual time, and do all your normal pre-bedtime rituals. If you normally read, meditate, or take a warm bath before bed, stick to it on Christmas Eve. Going through your usual routine will let your body know it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. One of the most common sleep tips is to follow a bedtime routine, so don’t change yours on Christmas Eve unless you absolutely need to.

Keep Your Sleep Environment Dark and Quiet

Finally, make sure your environment is suitable for sleep. You should sleep in a dark, quiet, and temperate room. If you’re staying with relatives and know this will be hard to achieve, consider bringing an eye mask and earplugs on your trip. A white noise machine or app might also help you relax. Reducing outside light and noise can make it much easier to fall asleep at night.

A woman sleeps with a mask on her face.

You should also avoid your electronic devices before bedtime. Scrolling on TikTok may seem like a great way to soothe your pre-holiday nerves, but blue light from your phone will actually keep you up much later.

Check out our article about Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment learn our top tips for making your bedroom soothing. a soothing bedroom.

How to Help Kids Sleep on Christmas Eve

One of the main things keeping parents up on Christmas Eve is getting their children to go to sleep. Whether it’s worry that Santa won’t come, excitement about opening presents, or just general holiday jitters, it is often a struggle to get kids to sleep before holidays. In addition to checking out A Parent’s Guide to Helping their Children Sleep, you can use the tips below to help get your kids to bed at a reasonable hour on Christmas Eve.

Read a Christmas Bedtime Story

Reading a Christmas-themed bedtime story can help your kids feel like they’re still indulging in holiday fun while they  drift off to sleep. The promise of a bedtime story is also a great way to coax young kids into bed.

A woman reads a story to a child

Keep the Morning and Afternoon Full of Activities

Another way to help kids sleep on Christmas Eve is to keep the morning and afternoon full of fun activities. Baking Christmas cookies, building a snowman, or making paper snowflakes are all entertaining ways to tire your kids out the day before Christmas. Plus, if they have something to focus on other than the countdown to Christmas morning, they may feel less agitated at bedtime.

Create a Calm Environment in the Evening

Finally, try to create a calm environment in the evening. For many kids, Christmas Eve is the most exciting night of the year. Soothing music, low lights, and quiet activities after dinner can help them relax before bedtime. A glass of warm milk and a calming bath are great ways to help younger kids fall asleep faster. Encouraging older kids and teens to end screen time about two hours before bed can help boost their natural melatonin levels. This will regulate their circadian rhythms and help them fall asleep faster.

Madison Schaper

Madison is an ex-mattress tester and current law student. When she's not studying, she puts her accumulated mattress and bedding knowledge to good use writing articles for Mattress Clarity. A few of her favorite non-work activities include trying new restaurants, reading short stories, and watching too much reality TV.