With the excitement of Christmas running high, it can be hard to fall asleep, and especially on Christmas Eve, of all nights. And the last thing you want as a parent is to be getting frazzled on one of the most special nights of the year! So how can you plan ahead and make this Christmas Eve one to remember, for the right reasons not the bad? How can you and your children get to sleep on Christmas Eve so you’ll be full of energy when the big day comes around?
1. Plan ahead
You need to get those excitable children worn out! It’s a good idea to plan a long walk just after lunch so that you and your children will be physically tired by the time bedtime comes around. For yourself, make sure you have planned ahead for the big day, planning meals and timings so you don’t go to sleep with a million thoughts buzzing through your mind.
2. Eat a healthy dinner
The last thing you want is a giant sugar rush adding to the excitement of Christmas Eve. Sugar late on in the day will not help you or your children to fall asleep, so stick to a healthy dinner and your body will be thanking you when it’s time to turn off the light.
3. Limit screen time
What could be more Christmassy than a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve? The only problem is that TV exposes our eyes to blue light which our brains perceive as daylight. When it gets dark outside, our brains start to produce melatonin which prepares our bodies for sleep, but blue light prevents this, so it’s a good idea to turn off screens at least an hour before bed to let your brain adjust and get sleepy. So, by all means, snuggle up with a movie but make sure you allow for a little downtime before bed.
4. Don’t throw routine out of the window
Christmas is a wonderful time, it can quickly descend into madness without a routine. Having set patterns can be helpful for children in terms of their emotional stability and expectations. It can be exhausting seeing loads of relatives, for the adults, let alone the children. Try not to plan in too many social gatherings in one day, and try to stick to a regular bedtime. As every parent knows, a happy child makes for a happy adult. If your children are happy and content, then it will be much easier for you to relax too. And for the adults out there, remember you can say no sometimes, even though it’s the holiday season. You don’t have to please everyone at the expense of yourself and your own well-being.
5. Create a bedtime routine
After you’ve sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn (we throw out some handfuls of oatmeal), then how about a warm bath with lavender? The warmth and the scent will soon calm your children down. Sticking to a simple routine will help your children’s brains to know it’s bedtime, even if there is an exciting day ahead. This goes for adults too. A warm bath can do wonders for calming down and preparing our bodies to get to sleep on Christmas Eve, however excited or stressed we may be.
6. Plan in some downtime
After bath time, a cup of warm milk, a story, and prayer will help to bring calm. This is great for adults and children alike! The Glorify App has loads of tools to help you, with a dedicated prayer for sleep as well as narrated Bible stories and reflections. Why not pray together using this great tool to help you to wind down?
7. Try out the Glorify App playlists
If you or your child is still wondering how to go to sleep on Christmas Eve, then consider Glorify’s soothing music playlists, which will help you to drift off to sleep before the big day with a dose of calm.
Remember, it is all for Him
And remember, as you go about your festivities, that all of this is for Him:
“Our glittering ornaments and Christmas trees, our festive carols, our sumptuous feasts- By these small tokens we affirm that something amazing has happened in time and space- that God, on a particular night, in a particular place, so many years ago, was born to us, an infant King, our Prince of Peace. Our wreaths and ribbons and colored lights, our giving of gifts, our parties with friends – these have never been ends in themselves. They are but small ways in which we repeat that sounding joy first proclaimed by angels in the skies near Bethlehem.”
(Every Moment Holy, Douglas McKelvey, Rabbit Room Press, p.127).
Everything we do at Christmas is to remember the joy of Jesus and the gift of His life. So just let it be, try not to stress too much! Enjoy the chaos and make sure that you find time to rest too. Why not check out this blog post on finding ways to schedule in a quiet time, even amidst all the busyness?
Lastly, let this prayer sink deep into your spirit, giving you rest this Christmas:
“Father, I let go of all the things I cannot control. I give all things that are in my mind to you. I exchange them for your peace. Father, let the joy and rest of Christmas be real to me this year. Amen.”
And why not say this prayer with your children on Christmas Eve?
“Dear Father, thank you for Jesus, who gave us the best gift ever, the gift of His life! Tomorrow, may we wake with joy and thankfulness at all that He has done for us. Please help me to rest tonight, Lord. May I know your peace as I sleep. Amen.”
I hope that you and your loved ones remember the true joy of Christmas this year and I hope that these tips help you to fall asleep on Christmas Eve so you may enjoy the best of the big day.