How are you doing with project Christmas? This season is a paradox. On the one hand, there’s so much joy connecting with friends and loved ones over this holiday season and then there’s project Christmas. The key to surviving Christmas is in the amount of quality sleep you are enjoying.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, there’s the magic of the Christmas lights, mulled wine by the fire, going for walks in snowy parks. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, it’s summer! Long warm sunny days (well, mostly) catching up with friends over a bbq and crisp cool pinot gris or a fruity rose.

It’s also a stressful time. Trying to fit everything in. Ticking off the to-do list. Buying more food than you typically eat in a month, juggling the finances, keeping the kids calm as they count down to the big day. And then there’s the family. As much as you love them, it can be tough marathoning it through the holiday period. Tempers can fray, everyone can get a little stir crazy if the weather’s not great. A lack of quality sleep can contribute to the lack of patience with loved ones and conversations that didn’t go as you intended. Which leads to more stress and less sleep as you take your worries to bed with you.

How do you improve the quality of your sleep?

The first step is to get enough sleep

Researchers have found that existing on 5 or 6 hours a night is not enough. We need 8 to 9 hours sleep. And it’s the goldilocks principle when it comes to sleep. Too much is just as unhelpful as too little sleep. So the first thing to do is to plan your sleep time and evening routine. Here’s how:

  • Begin by deciding what time you want to get up tomorrow morning. Then count back 8.5 hours. That’s your bedtime.
  • 1 hour before bedtime is when the devices go off. No reaching for the phone for a quick scroll or checking of email. TV goes off. Bright lights get turned off. This is the time to meander into relaxation.
  • Try having a bath with some lavender essential oil (by candle light is ideal) or do some stretches to loosen up your body. This is a good time to write in that shiny journal that you got for Christmas (or last Christmas). Use it as an opportunity to let go of the day.
  • Time your last meal so that you eat 3-hours before going to bed. Decide on how much time you need for meal prep. Can you get others in the house involved in meal prep to save some time and share the love?
  • Prior to beginning meal prep, take 15-minutes to write in your notebook the things that either didn’t get done today and so need to get done tomorrow or things that you need to do tomorrow. Charlie Gilkey calls this leaving breadcrumbs. It means you can start tomorrow with the peace of mind of knowing that you’re already on top of what needs to get done.

Prepare your room

The room that you sleep in should be zoned in to sleeping and intimacy. Nothing else. Watching tv or reading needs to happen in another room. When we do this, our mind knows what is required as soon as we enter that room and it starts to power down. Keep the room cool and remove any light sources. Check your curtains. Do they go all the way across the window and block out the light?

How about a sleepy time nightcap?

If you struggle to go to sleep, try bringing meditation into your hour before bedtime routine. There are some lovely herbs that can also help.

lemon balm, lavender and lettuce
lemon balm, lavender and lettuce
all have sleep inducing properties

You can find some information on that in my post, herb sleep remedies from your garden.

Getting enough quality sleep will really set you up for a fabulous holiday season.

give yourself the gift of sleep this Christmas