Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Silent Night? Getting Over-Excited Littl'uns to Bed on Christmas Eve Can Be a Challenge. Sleep Expert Professor COLIN ESPIE Shares Five Top Tips to Help Guarantee Seasonal Serenity

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Silent Night? Getting Over-Excited Littl'uns to Bed on Christmas Eve Can Be a Challenge. Sleep Expert Professor COLIN ESPIE Shares Five Top Tips to Help Guarantee Seasonal Serenity

Article excerpt

I'M dreaming of a calm, quiet Christmas, with lots of lovely sleep! However - on the night before Christmas, all through the house, I'm pretty sure there'll be plenty of creatures stirring, in the form of overexcited children, who certainly aren't nestled all snug in their beds.

We currently have a nightly rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas on a loop from my toddler son, and it's not even Christmas Eve yet.

Head to use up On December 24, there'll be three under-fives under the same roof at the grandparents', and there'll be hanging out stockings, leaving out carrots and a mince pie, and, no doubt, more carol singing to squeeze into the usual bedtime routine.

If this sounds familiar, whether they're your own kids or your grandchildren, you might benefit from the advice of University of Oxford sleep expert and cofounder of digital sleep improvement programme Sleepio, Professor Colin Espie.

Here are his top five tips to get kids off to sleep before Santa stops by...

1. BE ACTIVE DURING THE DAY THERE'S plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night.

One Australian study found that every hour a child spends inactive, adds three minutes to the time taken to nod off.

So take a break from Christmas movies and head to the park - or simply get outdoors in the garden or go for a walk - to help expend excess energy in time before bed.

2. STICK TO BEDTIME ROUTINES AND RITUALS A CONSISTENT bedtime routine, or a set of specific 'rituals' before lights out, will signal that it's time to sleep. If you're staying away from home, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual.

outdoors energy Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as: bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug), will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are.

Even a few days of a consistent schedule should help your child settle in a new location.

Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them to relax and feel secure away from home.

3. ACT BEFORE YOUR CHILD GETS OVERTIRED YOUNG children are often reluctant to admit they're tired - even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. …

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