Our expert sleep tips: the gift of sleep

This Christmas we've partnered with Sleep Expert Natalie Pennnicote-Collier to help you make the most of your festive rest and precious family time with the Gift of Sleep.


Time together is at the top of UK Adults’ Christmas Wish list this year, with two fifths of Brits saying they want to spend as much time with their family as they can. They also share that while catching up on sleep is super important, the middle of December is the most challenging time for UK adults to get the best sleep and for children it is Christmas Eve.

Premier Inn’s new research zooms in on some of the festive sleep challenges we all face, while I provide expert helpful tips that really work.

We know that great sleep helps boost our energy and mood, and helps us to manage worries and stress, especially important for us all this year. With this in mind, we share the ‘need to know’ expert sleep wellbeing tips that will help you and your family to enjoy sleep wellbeing this Christmas.
 

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Your Premier ‘S L E E P’ Sleep wellbeing tips for everyone

Sleep Nutrition; need to know festive eating to protect your sleep wellbeing
 

  • Christmas is for some a celebration of sugary processed food. Be mindful to try not to eat too late in the evening ideally leave a few hours between your evening meal and sleep. If you can, try to avoid too much of anything that raises your blood sugar levels and choose healthy carbohydrates where possible; these can help you sleep by not putting excessive strain on your digestive system and promote healthy sleep through a healthy gut microbiome.
     

Light
 

  • Choosing a daily wake up time over the holidays; this is one of the easiest freely available ways you can help optimise your sleep for everyone in your family. By choosing a consistent wake up time this will help your body get into a healthy rhythm day and night for your best energy and mood boost. Routine is especially helpful for children & teens during this fun festive but sometimes chaotic, time


Tip
: Your Healthiest Sleep loves a consistent wake time, if you want to boost your sleep further then keep a regular bed time in order to protect your sleep wellbeing for a healthy mind, body & energy boost.

 

  • From our research we know kids love the fact they can stay up late at Christmas time, however it is super important to stick to regular bedtimes throughout the Christmas period for children in order to make it easier for them to drop off to sleep. Switching up and altering their bed time during the festive season can actually have the same effect as ‘Holiday’ jet lag, meaning it will throw off their body clocks and make it harder for them to drop off and stay asleep, and more challenging for all on the most precious wished for family days.
     

Environment

 

  • Environment is the invisible hand that shapes our sleep behaviour; your bedroom is the foundation of great sleep. If you are home, near or far this Christmas, create a new extra special Sleep Sanctuary with a new pillow or pj’s, and make a Dedicated Sleep Calm ZONE in your bedroom

  • As tempting as central heat is, be sustainable this festive season and keep your heating on for better sleep health at around a cooler 18 degrees, and super dark, as these elements will help to promote and sustain good sleep.
     

Exercise
 

  • Exercise or simply aim to move every day for 30 mins ideally before midday for better sleep quality. This sleep science habit of moving really helps protect healthier sleep & improved sleep quality sleep at night by as much as 15%

  • Seek the day time light; you can boost your sleep further by moving ideally in powerful winter daylight, as a daily dose of fresh air and nature will naturally strengthen your sleep wellbeing


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reparing to unwind; find your best strategies to unwind your stress and take time for you

  • Whilst most of us know to step away from screens at night, you should also take time to talk together and really connect away from your usual small screen habits in the morning too. It takes our minds on average 30mins to wake up out of ‘sleep inertia’ and science shows we can feel more reactive to stress in the morning if we don’t sleep well, so take some tech free time for wellbeing and switch up your small screen habits to start your day right.

  • Build a new habit of Screen Free time – ideally an hour earlier than usual for you and Increase the Calm zone with festive stories, or an audiobook in a cosy, calm, dimly lit bedroom.  Check out the new collection of Premier Inn Sleep Sounds or choose reading over small screens; ideally a new story time or audio book / podcast to listen to.

  • Time for your Mind. For those looking for some peace and quiet this Christmas, take 10 minutes to enjoy a new healthy habit with some Tech free moments. Focusing on yoga, stretching, your own breath or mindfulness techniques have all been proven to help sleep by taking the stress away, and teaching your body and mind to unwind during the day, strengthening your relaxation skills for better sleep  

  • Make time for some sleep health nutrition wellbeing mornings. Choosing a healthy breakfast helps strengthen your awake systems and starts the signals for our body clocks. Taking your time in the morning by enjoying a healthy breakfast sends a healthy AWAKE signal to your internal body clocks boosting your sleep health rhythms (your sleep circadian clock).

  • Time to Dim the Lights. Welcome the sleep hormone melatonin by choosing to dim the lights especially in the evenings - engage in a new cosy dim or candle light relaxation and switch up your sleep time habits.

  • We know that over 20% of children are looking forward to staying up late over Christmas and at the top of their list was time on the day to play. Be sleep kind but don’t stress too much, as long as they have a good routine and wake up at a similar time every day both before and after Christmas Day, they’ll switch back to their usual sleep behaviours soon enough.
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Additional tips ahead of ‘THE BIG DAY’

Gift of Sleep; Family Wellbeing Habits for Christmas Eve
Focus on the sleep boosting ‘power of the big 3’

 

  1. Get going outside; a big energy busting day, nature, fresh air and healthy nutritious foods.
    Help sleep wellbeing by keeping it focused on a mega Christmas eve / daytime. Tonnes of fresh air, outside movement & play, and a mega dose of Christmas cheer, cosy movies games and fun. With a third of children said that playing with mum and dad more is one of their favourite things, alongside over a quarter (26%) saying that watching Christmas films is their favourite thing, they are sure to enjoy this.

  2. Enjoy the afternoon as your super slow Christmas wind down
    Bring on an earlier tech time. We know that the tech bluelight alerts your mind to be powered on and awake particularly at night, so welcome an earlier Christmas Family ‘cinema’ movie time. As well, manage the sugar rush and celebration foods well before the later afternoon so they don’t interfere with sleep fuelling more of the excitement when you really want to sleep well tonight. Simple switches that make a big difference.

  3. Twas’ the night before Christmas
    Support your children’s sleep amidst the festive excitement by relaxing your expectations of their ability to sleep. All we can do to help tiny excited minds is help acknowledge excitement with the promise of Sleep for the BEST day ever to come. So, forget strict strategies and take a sleep kind approach … cosy, safe and dark. Science also shows that we need a drop in temperature so an extra-long wind down with a bath or long shower really helps trigger the natural process of the transition to sleep.
     
  • Sleep SOS Bedtime Support
    Try not to rush or stress it is the best sleep wellbeing approach; take an extra hour special cosy wind down and make it count.
    Build a Screen Free Sleep Power Hour and Increase the Calm zone with festive stories.
    Choose together to step away from screens …. Sharing together how its healthy for sleep & your brain to welcome Melatonin (the sleep vip hormone) by switching off an hour earlier than you usually do.

  • Sleepy mindset
    Share with your young minds that getting more sleep and rest = a better Christmas day to play all day (which was at the top of our survey wish list) and a healthier body & mind.
    Together move the focus of mind to the special day and power up a dream imagination game.
    Acknowledging excitement & wide awake feelings & zooming out to having the BEST day together is a great mind strategy.
    Science also shows that simply breathing in synch together in the safe calm dark helps us all power down to the best VIP deeper sleep pathway.
    Learning to focus their mind on the senses, especially Breathing & Sounds massively helps sleep time. As opposed to lying there worrying & striving to fall asleep.
    Be Kind and Clear about what time the FUN starts and how early you ‘dare’ to Open your Christmas and unwrap your best day together.

So, CHOOSE HEALTHY SLEEP THIS CHRISTMAS. Bring on the gift of sleep no matter where you are this Christmas with our Sleep wellbeing habits and fresh new ideas for us all.

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