11pm is the perfect time to go to bed on Christmas Eve – that’s the expert advice from sleep specialist James Higgins after conducting research on the ideal time for festive slumber.
James, who is the CEO of Ethical Bedding – the UK’s only BCorp-accredited sustainable bedding company, focused on four key factors: evading Father Christmas, preventing festive bloat, ensuring the best wake-up time on Christmas Day, and managing excitement. He consistently pinpointed 11pm as the prime time to nod off before Santa’s eagerly awaited visit.
“In the UK, it’s well-known that Father Christmas typically arrives between 12am and 3am. The magic of Christmas requires us to be asleep when he visits, so being in bed by 11pm ensures we don’t wake up disappointed on Christmas morning,” explains James.
Emphasising the importance of good sleep, James went on to say: “A good night’s rest is crucial to waking up timely on Christmas Day. Adults need 7–9 hours of sleep. By sleeping at 11pm, you can wake at 7am feeling energised and refreshed, ready for a full day of festivities.”
However, James acknowledges the challenges of settling down on Christmas Eve. “The excitement factor, especially among children awaiting Father Christmas’s arrival, can be overwhelming. To ensure a peaceful night, I recommend a calming bedtime routine, like reading a festive story, enjoying a warm, non-caffeinated drink, or partaking in relaxing activities.”
James also advises caution with evening meals: “Festive feasts are delightful but can interfere with sleep. To avoid bloat, have your main meal earlier in the evening, choose lighter, digestible foods, and limit sweets and rich dishes. Drinking water and a post-dinner walk can promote better sleep.”
James has also shared his top 10 tips for enjoying a restful sleep this Christmas:
- Establish a bedtime routine. Start winding down with relaxing activities an hour before bed, such as a warm bath or reading a festive book under a cosy blanket.
- Limit caffeine and sugar. Avoid caffeinated drinks and sugary treats late in the evening to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment. Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Mindful eating. Enjoy your Christmas Eve dinner early in the evening and opt for lighter, easily digestible foods to prevent festive bloat.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the evening, but avoid excessive liquids right before bed to minimise nighttime awakenings.
- Limit screen time. Turn off electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime to reduce blue light exposure, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
- Engage in light physical activity. A short, gentle walk after dinner can aid digestion and promote better sleep.
- Practise relaxation techniques. Try deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to calm the mind and prepare for sleep.
- Set a sleep schedule. Stick to your regular sleep schedule as much as possible, even during the festive season, to maintain your body’s internal clock.
- Embrace the festive spirit. Incorporate festive elements into your bedtime routine, like listening to soft Christmas music or using holiday-scented candles (safely), to enjoy the season’s magic.