7 tips to get back into a healthy sleep routine after Christmas

How to fix your body clock and sleep routine after the festive season

Woman lying back on a mattress with her arm over her head
(Image credit: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash)

We’re nearing the end of the first week of 2024, and I don’t know about you, but my sleep routine has been off after the festive season. If you feel the same as me, then it’s time to fix your body clock and sleep routine to start off the new year on the right foot.

Christmas and New Year’s are filled with overindulgence, travelling and staying up late, all things that disrupt your sleep routine. Now that we’re back to normality, your sleep needs to be a priority again, so you can wake up every morning feeling refreshed, well rested and ready to take on the day.

To get back into a healthy sleep routine after Christmas, here are seven tips you need to follow. Before I get into the list, make sure to upgrade your sleep set-up for 2024 with the best mattress and the best pillows on the market today.

1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday

One of the most important rules for good sleep hygiene is to stick to a routine, meaning you should go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning – yes, that includes weekends. This is all to do with your circadian rhythm, which signals to your brain and body when it’s time to sleep and wake up. If you start winding down at 9:30pm with the intention of going to sleep at 10:30pm, your body will get used to this so you’ll feel sleepy during this time of day. Keeping to this schedule helps your body get used to this routine and you’ll find you can sleep easier and perform better the next day.

2. Use fresh air and light to regulate your circadian rhythm

During the holidays, you’re likely to stay up late and stay indoors to enjoy the food and festivities that are on offer. But getting enough fresh air and light in your day plays a big role with your body clock. Light regulates your circadian rhythm as the brightness signals to your brain that it’s time to be awake, while the darkness indicates it’s time to go to sleep. Exposing yourself to natural sunlight throughout the day can help with this regulation, and since it gets dark early this time of year, the best SAD lamps and the best wake up lights can also simulate this brightness.

SAD lamp

(Image credit: John Lewis)

3. Stay hydrated

Christmas is alcohol-heavy which is incredibly disruptive to your sleep. Avoiding alcohol and staying hydrated with water will benefit your body in many healthy ways, including your sleep. Drinking water rather than alcohol before bed prevents dehydration while you sleep and supports temperature regulation which can help you fall asleep faster. You’re also less likely to wake up in the night feeling uncomfortable. For more details, see how much water you should drink a day.

4. Eat balanced meals and at the right time of day

Overindulging in festive food is one of my favourite parts of Christmas but now that we’re into the new year, it’s important to put down the pigs in blankets and start eating more balanced meals. Eating at the right time of day is also beneficial for your sleep as it helps regulate your body clock. Generally, you shouldn’t eat two-three hours before bedtime as your body will still be digesting food which can keep you awake. If you enjoy a late night snack before bed, stick to foods that help you get a good night’s sleep.

5. Get active

Exercising, going on walks and just moving your body is extremely important if you want to improve your sleep. Working out has been proven to improve sleep quality and quantity, plus getting the right amount of sleep ensures better strength and endurance for when you exercise. For exercise advice, check out Get Fit 2024 where T3 will be giving you workout and diet tips for getting and staying healthy in the new year.

Frizzy young female athlete jumping against clear blue sky on sunny day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. Avoid napping

I’m not a big napper but I napped almost everyday between Christmas and New Years. After most naps, I woke up feeling groggy and found it hard to fall asleep at night. Now that we’re back into a normal routine, it’s best to avoid napping so your nighttime rest isn’t disrupted by not being able to fall asleep. If you have to nap, make sure to only sleep for 20-30 minutes and not too close to bedtime (see how to have the perfect nap for more tips).

7. Take time to relax and unwind

The first month of a new year is always high pressure, as many people are trying to be super productive to start off the year on the right track. But it’s important for your sleep, wellness and mental health that you take the time to look after yourself. Focusing on properly relaxing and unwinding before bed is so important as it gives you time to switch off and destress from the day. There are many ways to do this like cutting out phones before bed, reading a book, enjoying the best essential oils, having a bath, and much more.

For more sleep tips, check out how to reset your body clock with this three-day plan

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!