Sleep during the Winter Holidays…

We are all waiting for the Winter Holidays, for the magic they bring into our homes and lives, even if sometimes this only takes the shape of a light star and a shinny Christmas tree, lots of presents and delicious food. We are all waiting, at the same time, to meet the extended family members and friends and share all the good & bad stories of the year behind us.

However, we soon realise it’s not that easy to navigate through all these entangled stories and “meal courses” at the family table and many of us feel the need to come back home to our well-known habits sooner than we had imagined before.

This happens because Christmas, like most big family gatherings, brings out many of our childhood wounds and if we did not manage to heal them by now, they are all triggered again. If you are looking for a quick way to deal with it, the Hygge Oath could be a useful tool.

This reminds me of a famous line mocking a bit the self-called spiritual people:

You think you are enlightened? Go home for Christmas!” wink

For kids, this is a very exciting time and they embrace and experience this magic the most.

At the same time, we need to be aware of the fact that a few days before Christmas the cortisol level (the stress hormone) of our children reaches sky-rocket levels. But this does not worry us much and we would never consider cancelling Christmas for this reason, right? wink

Because this is a natural response to excitement and the same as most baby sleep training programs, if it’s a short-term process, it does not produce any damage to our kids.

However, we need to keep in mind that too much stimulation, too much jumping around and too many cookies could easily lead to overtired and fussy kids. This of course, affects their sleep and mood and the frame of mind of the entire family.

What to do not to compromise sleep during the Winter Holidays

So, in case you spend this Christmas away from home, let’s try to take some cautious measures to make the most of these magic holidays, without compromising sleep all together:

  1. Preferably travel during the day (better during lunch nap time) so that the little members of the family get a chance to have a quick nap on the move
  2. In case you are flying through time zones, try to get into the local time as soon as possible (1-2 days)
  3. Bring along as many familiar things as possible: travel cot, bed sheets and sleep sack (without washing them before the trip to keep the “homey” scent), pram / baby carrier, favourite toys and books, white noise etc.
  4. Try to stick to the routine of your baby or toddler at least 80% of the time
  5. Try to keep bedtime and bedtime ritual as similar as possible (20-30 min. extra won’t do any damage on a short term basis)
  6. In case you want other members of the family to put your baby / toddler in bed in the evening, let them take part in the bedtime ritual and talk to them before, explaining your usual bedtime ritual and the soothing technique you are using to help your baby settle and resettle
  7. Try to have a positive and compassionate attitude especially towards grandparents who seem to know best anyway 😉
  8. In case you need to share a room with your kids, try to use a room divider so you don’t disturb each other during sleep and avoid sharing a bed with them
  9. Try to keep that healthy balance between protein and carbohydrates for your kids throughout the day and don’t let them overload with sweets
  10. Take a walk outside and let your kids run at least 1h /day (preferably in the morning)
  11. Come back to the usual routine and time as soon as you are back home.

How to deal with sleep during the New Year’s Eve

One particular care we should give to the night between the years, when there are lots of loud noises out there which could scare or disturb our kids’ sleep.

So my recommendations regarding sleep during this special night are:

  • try not to delay bedtime more than 1 h extra since it might impact your kid’s sleep at night
  • talk to your kids and explain them that there could be some noises during their sleep coming from somewhere and they are just fireworks
  • turn the volume of the white noise machine up that night so it can cover (to some degree) the loud noises of the fireworks.

Above all, appreciate these precious moments within your family and enjoy everything you are and have right now! Tomorrow is another story…

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone!

In case you are looking for ideas for Christmas presents, here is an original one for someone you care about.

If you plan to start the New Year with better sleep, do not hesitate to book a free Discovery Call and make some good sleep intentions.