Days vs Sleeps until Christmas

There is a lot of room for error when counting down the days until Christmas, or any special day for that matter. With what seems to be a variety of different ways to count down just how long you have until that special day available, confusion abounds over just how long there is left. To help, we have attempted to explain the two major differences below in the hope it will make more sense and leave less room for error.

Just how many days are there until Christmas then?

Okay, first we have to agree that Christmas starts at midnight on December 25th, when most people are asleep. Let's say today is 3pm on the 12th November, that would mean there are technically 42 days & 8 hours left until Christmas. So if you were to say there are 42 days left before Christmas you would be correct. Where most of the confusion arises is when people talk in sleeps and even use the word days when they actually mean sleeps. In our scenario, there would be 43 sleeps until Christmas day. There will always be one less (full) day than sleeps, although some then count down the hours instead.

But wait what are sleeps?

A 'sleep' is the same as a night; while you are asleep a new day has begun and when you wake up that new day has already arrived. So, for example, if there are 42 days left until Christmas, there would be 43 sleeps until you woke up on Christmas day. On Christmas Eve there will be 0 days and a certain number of hours left until Christmas Day begins (at 00:00:00 on the 25th December) – but if you find it easier you can just say there is 1 sleep until Christmas. That's fine – it's just not 1 day until Christmas!

What about different timezones?

We count down from the United Kingdom, so we are counting down at UTC+00:00. That means we are at the centre of the world’s time, because of that most of the time the number of days left for us will be mostly the same for everyone else too. Our Twitter followers are mostly from the United Kingdom and USA, so there are only around 6 hours difference there.

OK I think I understand. What now?

We’re going to be counting down the days to Christmas, not sleeps. Which means that come Christmas Eve there will only be hours, not days left until Christmas day. And now you know the differences, you can count down knowing you're not incorrect. If you want to count down in days that’s fine! Check how many there are left at our Christmas countdown website (be sure to change your timezone using the 'View options' if you need to). If you want to count down in sleeps/nights that’s fine too – just add 1 to the number of days and make sure you write sleeps/nights and not days!

Our Christmas Countdown Website:


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