Earlier “Black Friday” Shopping Hours Actually a Benefit

Every year it seems Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, comes earlier.  It started with stores opening at ridiculously early hours on the Friday after Thanksgiving, trying to lure shoppers with low prices.  Then, in the last few years, those same stores started opening at midnight on Friday.  This year, the sales are starting so early that Black Friday won’t begin on Friday at all.  Instead, the sales will start on Thursday, with a number of stores opening at eight or nine o’clock on Thanksgiving day.

Setting aside complaints that this frenzy of consumerism is invading a beloved holiday, as well as the labor unrest caused by the additional working hours, there is a silver lining for shoppers — they may not lose as much sleep if they want to participate in the big shopping frenzy.

If you get your shopping done in a few hours starting at eight or nine o’clock on Thursday, that may mean you won’t be up in the middle of the night or before the crack of dawn the next day.  Getting home a little late and then sleeping a little late the next day is certainly preferable in terms of sleep than prowling Walmart at two o’clock in the morning, looking for this year’s hot gift.

If you DO feel the need to set the alarm for “oh dark thirty” in order to get a great deal on a flat panel TV (for instance), like many said they would in our 2010 Thanksgiving shopping survey, use these tips to try to minimize the impact of the lost sleep on your body:

  • It’s not necessary to lose sleep to get a good deal.  Shopping online from the comfort of your own home (and at a reasonable hour) can yield you some great deals as well.  Many online retailers are offering free shipping during the holiday season.
  • If you MUST be up in the middle of the night, plan ahead.  Try to get a little extra sleep for a couple of nights before the big event, to minimize the sleep debt.
  • Plan to take it easy for the rest of the day. Once you get home, take a nap.  Don’t wait until late in the day for that siesta, however, as it may keep you from sleeping well that night.
  • Caffeine is your friend, but use it wisely. Having a cup of coffee while shopping or once you get home (or both) isn’t a big deal. However, don’t drink it the late afternoon or evening, as it may keep you up that night.

In short, we don’t recommend giving up sleep for shopping, but if you must, try to make up the sleep debt as soon as possible.  For more sleep news and advice, use the handy search bar at the top of SleepBetter.org.