Why a Christmas tree in your bedroom means better sleep
From burning the festive candle at both ends, to stressing about finding – and financing – all the presents, Christmas brings with it many factors that can mean sleep takes a hit at this time of year.
But thankfully, experts at Hayes Garden World uncovered a surprising sleep hack could help you clock up some more shut eye: bringing your Christmas tree into the bedroom.
Yes, that's right. As well as sprinkling the magic in another room in your home, putting a tree next to your bed can have a surprising impact on your ZZZs.
Here's how decking the halls (of our bedroom) can improve our sleep.
Read more: When should you put up your Christmas tree and decorations?
A calming reminder of nature
Not only is green a soothing colour, but having a Christmas tree in your bedroom offers a calming reminder of nature.
"Our brains collect information from our surroundings and this translates into chemical signals, releasing different hormones in response," explains Carl Wash, sleep expert at Bed Guru.
"In this instance, melatonin and cortisol, as they’re the hormones that control your sleep cycle. That’s why it's good to consider what colours you’re using in the bedroom to ensure your brain is telling your body to release the right hormones that will put your body into a sleepy state."
Wash says green, especially softer shades, is a non-stimulating colour which is good for relaxation and promoting good quality sleep.
We know that being around nature can be good for our mental and physical health – even a short walk in a green space can have tangible benefits – and Christmas is an opportunity to bring those benefits right into our bedrooms.
Even more comfort and nostalgia
For most of us the run up to Christmas, including decorating the tree and the day itself, is a key memory from our childhood.
"So although Christmas can be a pretty stressful time of year, taking part in Christmas related activities takes people back to their childhood, where they had no responsibilities, and in that moment they forget about all the other stressful things," explains Wash.
And while feeling less stressed is always going to be good for your sleep, more opportunities to decorate and a tree in your room brings you even more comfort and nostalgia – visible from your bed.
"All the Christmas festivities give you a reason to step away from your responsibility, become a child again and just relax and have fun. Clearing your mind in this way will help you sleep more soundly at night,” he adds.
Read more: How to hang Christmas tree lights like an expert – without just wrapping them around
Natural chemicals in a real tree can help promote sleep
As well as making your room smell amazing, the natural chemicals that are responsible for a real tree's fragrance have other calming plus points.
"Numerous health benefits have been found to be associated with terpenes and esters that are commonly released by Christmas trees," Kim Lahiri, aromacologist for Trelonk Molecular Wellbeing told the Metro.
"These chemicals like alpha-pinene are prevalent throughout the world of essential oils and have been used traditionally for treating various ailments for centuries.
"Alpha- and beta-pinene are renowned for their antimicrobial [kills bacteria] and antioxidant [can fight harmful compounds] properties. Alpha-pinene has also been shown to help improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Meanwhile, beta-pinene has properties which alleviate everyday aches and pains."
Read more: How to beat a festive hangover
Bright colours produce happy hormones
As with colours in the bedroom, our brain responds to our visual surroundings. So, when you’ve decorated your bedroom for Christmas, the bright colours can help promote the release of hormones that make us feel happy.
When it comes to the lights on your bedroom tree it's best to use warm lighting, because blue light, such as the light found in LED lights, blocks the release of sleep hormones and makes it more difficult to fall asleep.
Yellow, orange, or red-tinted lighting may be best for a restful night's sleep, although opting for the lighting that speaks to you could also help you drift off. Previous research found that participants fell asleep faster in a room with lighting in their preferred colour.
Reap the benefits without the allergies by going fake
Just as summer time allergies can impact sleep, people can have a similar reaction around the festive period if they are allergic to Christmas trees.
So for those who are, Wash recommends ditching the real tree and opting for a fake one instead.
"Artificial trees can look just as good as real ones, and no one wants sleepless nights during the festive season,” he adds.
Watch: Couple's first Christmas tree planted 44 years ago now stands 50ft high