The festive period is among us, the excitement of the wait of what Christmas day will bring us is lingering. Children are indeed, most excited, waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa Clause (and their presents). Routines change during this time of the year, as we are all very busy and joyous. Additionally, the winter season can also have an effect on our sleeping cycle. Christmas effecting our sleep A survey carried out by Dream Beds on 1000 people showed us what keeps people awake during the run up to Christmas. The study found 45% of us normally stay up later partying the night away or wrapping presents. The other 55% tend to wake up early and, as a result, feel tired for the rest of the day. The survey also asked how to describe the run up to Christmas. 89% stated they were busy and stressed while only 7% find the period relaxing. There was a difference between Counties too, as those in the East Midlands will be rising earlier than the other Counties, on average between 5am to 7am on Christmas day. Those in the West Midlands are likely to worry about gifts not arriving more than any other region. 22% of Londoners worry about family visiting over the Christmas break, compared to just 15% in Yorkshire. Every individual varies, however the amount of sleep most people need every night ranges from 7.5 to 8.5 hours. Sleep is the time for our body to rest, to get ready for the functions of the day. It is important to make sure we are still getting a good amount of sleep during the Christmas period. Our sleeping cycle can change for a number of reasons, including the lack of light in the winter season. The amount of daylight during the winter season is more limited than in the other seasons, impacting the body’s sleeping cycle. Light impacts the pituitary, which secretes melatonin, melatonin is needed to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Lack of light produces more melatonin, making the body feel tired and sluggish. Cold air can also be another reason, as it also affects the melatonin produced in your body, therefore also disrupting the sleep-wake cycle. A main Christmassy reason is to do with our diets! Our eating habits most definitely change, we incorporate a lot of carbohydrates into our lives from all the high sugars and high calorie foods. These foods impact the body’s hormone levels, including the hormone leptin which plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. As we are all aware, tis the season to be joly. Alcohol will be consumed, and lots of it! A couple of drinks will definitely help you sleep easy, however it can affect the quality of your sleep. Alcohol sends you straight into a deep sleep, forgetting the REM ( rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. You will also find yourself waking up at ungodly hours to go to the bathroom. Also, the day after the Christmas work party calls for a lot of caffeine! It takes about 6 hours for caffeine to be eliminated from the body, so make sure you avoid caffeine close to bedtime. Ideally, you should try to reduce caffeine consumption after 2pm. We can’t get away from the pretty lights around Christmas time, meaning a lot of blue light is in the air. As we know, blue light can directly affect our sleep cycle, keeping us more alert, which is a disadvantage near bed time. Here are some tips to keep your Christmas sleep as good as possible: 1. Set a routine that you are able to handle, in the run up to Christmas day. 2. Set the room temperature to be cool, but still comfortable, however try not to make the environment too dry. 3. Turn off your electronic equipment at least an hour before going to bed. 4. Keep some time into your routine for some exercise. 5. Try to relax before going to sleep, don’t think about things you need to do! 6. Get a good amount of light exposure everyday, going for a morning walk usually helps. 7. Stop eating three to four hours before going to bed. 8. Try blue light filters/screen protectors, especially when doing your last minute online Christmas shops! So make sure you prepare everything in advance, stay organised, get plenty of sleep, but most importantly remember to have fun!

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