Navigating the Land of Nod: How Christmas And The holidays Can Disrupt Sleep Patterns in Infants and Children

The festive season brings joy and merriment, but for parents, it can also usher in challenges when it comes to maintaining regular sleep patterns for infants and children. From changes in the environment to the excitement of Christmas, various factors can disrupt the delicate balance of sleep. As we all know, the mood and sleep are intrinsically linked so follow these sleep tips to make your Christmas a relaxed and fun one..

Difference in Environment:

The holiday season often involves travel, whether it’s to visit family or embark on a winter holiday. The unfamiliar surroundings of a new place can be disorienting for infants and children, leading to restlessness and difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, not to mention waking way too early for anyone’s sanity!

 Bringing along comfort items like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal can provide a sense of familiarity through touch and smell. If you have sleep trained and you have a great routine at home then try to stick to it where you can. The routine is ingrained into your child’s nervous system so if you work with it, it’ll lead to a smooth transition.

 If room sharing then make sure that the child has a safe sleep space and you can always erect a temporary barrier between the cot and your bed if you think being able to see you will lead to more nighttime wakes. A clothes airer and a big towel can do the trick!

And don’t forget that a change in morning light will affect the wake up time of your little one. If their room at home is pitch black and they’re in a room that isn’t, they will wake earlier and it can throw the day off.

Routine Changes:

The holiday season often disrupts daily routines, with late-night gatherings, parties, and special events. While this is part and parcel of the time and you don’t want to miss out on anything special, sudden shifts in routine can confuse a child’s internal body clock, making it challenging for them to settle into a regular sleep pattern. Try to maintain some consistency in bedtime, nap times and their routines, even during this period. The more you do, the better the sleep and more enjoyment the child will get from Christmas.

Bright Lights and Noise:

The vibrant decorations, dazzling lights, and cheerful music that characterize Christmas can be mesmerizing for children but may also contribute to overstimulation. Excessive bright lights and loud noises, especially during nighttime festivities, can disturb sleep. Consider creating a calming pre-sleep routine to help your child wind down amidst the festive chaos.

If possible, then having a calm period of ideally 1-2 hours before bedtime will help the child’s circadian rhythm to regulate. 

Fear Or Excitement Father Christmas:

The idea of the big guy, while magical for many children, can also instill a sense of fear or anxiety. The anticipation of a stranger entering the house, even bearing gifts, might be unsettling for some kids. To alleviate this, discuss the concept of Santa with your child and emphasize that you can ask him not to come in the house and to leave the presents at the door for you to bring in.


Christmas is synonymous with sweet treats and sugary delights. While indulging in festive goodies is part of the celebration, be mindful of the timing. Excessive sugar intake, especially close to bedtime, can lead to heightened energy levels, making it challenging for children to settle down for sleep. Encourage moderation and try to limit sugary snacks in the evening. Making sure that children are eating some good fats and protein before eating sugar is a good way to regulate high blood sugar spikes.

Don’t stress too much;

If you and the kids get out of routine, you end up co-sleeping to get a few more minutes of sleep and chocolate for dinner manages to happen then don’t worry about it. The measures above are the ideal and will save you some stress. However, it’s not a holiday without a bit of change and often it’s the things like this that adds to the magic for kids. There’s always time to get back to routine after, even if chaos has ensued!

While the holiday season may disrupt sleep patterns for infants and children, thoughtful planning and awareness can help mitigate these challenges. Balancing the festive spirit with a commitment to maintaining a sleep-friendly environment will ensure that both you and your little ones can enjoy the magic of Christmas which is much easier to do when everyone is well rested.

 Sweet dreams and Happy Christmas!

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