New survey data released today, reveals a significant divide in the holiday experience depending on whether or not Americans have children. According to the survey, American parents sleep less, drink more, and generally deal with more “holiday stress” than their non-parent counterparts.

The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults and teens was conducted online by Propeller Research on behalf of Sleep Cycle in September 2018.

Jingle Bells, mistletoe and sleepless nights

The holiday season may be a time to catch up with old friends, visit with family and enjoy holiday parties, but, for American parents, it’s also a season of late nights and bad sleep:

  • 53 percent of American parents will lose sleep over the holidays due to “holiday stress” compared to just 23 percent of non-parents
  • 66 percent of parents will stay up late shopping for gifts online, compared to 37 percent of non-parents
  • On Christmas Eve, 44 percent of parents will wait until after 11 p.m. to put gifts under the tree, and most (70 percent) will get fewer than six hours of sleep
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) of parents will be up by 7 a.m. on Christmas morning
  • Meanwhile, more than half (51 percent) of non-parents will be sleeping until past 8 a.m. on Christmas morning, and 17 percent will sleep past 10 a.m.

‘Get your mother another glass of eggnog’

Parents will also do more drinking over the holidays than their children-free counterparts: two-thirds (67 percent) will join just over half (54 percent) of non-parents in hitting the sauce harder than usual in the six weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve.

In both cases, the top two reasons are holiday parties (60 percent) and because “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” (42 percent), but the number three reason for parents is “dealing with family members” (37 percent) — a reason that ranks fifth on non-parents’ list behind “fewer work responsibilities” and “seasonal depression.”

“It’s well established that when people don’t get enough sleep, they fall back on vices,” said Carl Johan Hederoth, CEO of Sleep Cycle. “Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can prevent some of the overindulgences and make the return to everyday routines after the holidays less jarring. The Sleep Cycle app can help people maintain their routines, even when the holiday stress heats up.”

All I want for Christmas is a good night’s sleep

Perhaps because the holiday season affects their sleep much more, American parents (42 percent) are also significantly more likely than non-parents (15 percent) to buy friends and family sleep-related holiday gifts — like pillows, bedding and sound machines.

More parents (63 percent) also have or might ask for sleep-related holiday gifts than non-parents (40 percent). If you’re wondering what to get them:

  • 38 percent are hoping for pillows
  • 37 percent would like bedding
  • 27 percent want a new mattress
  • 23 percent would like a diffuser
  • 20 percent are hoping for a white noise machine

More than half of American parents will be scouting holiday sales for pillows (57 percent) and bedding (50 percent), and 58 percent plan to spend at least $50 on sleep products during the holidays, while 65 percent of non-parents plan to spend less than $50.

Women hit harder by sleep deprivation