Survey: Holiday Stress Keeping One in Five Americans Awake

What do mom and dad want most this holiday season? How about a good night’s rest?

According to a just-released national year-end survey – the Holiday Slumber Index – one in five Americans (20%) says they expect to lose sleep over the coming weeks due to holiday stress. Seasonally-induced insomnia is even higher for mothers and fathers (27%).

Compounding that anxiety, if not the source of it, are concerns over seasonal expenses. Two in five parents (42%) say they are stressing over being able to pay holiday bills this year.

And perhaps the biggest cause of insufficient sleep? That would be staying up late the night before gift-giving. One in two parents (52%) say they will likely get six or fewer hours of sleep that night – despite those “easy-to-assemble” assurances on the box.

“Kids may have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads over the holidays, but for many adults, the season can be a time in which some year-end anxiety can climb down the proverbial chimney,” said Dan Schecter, vice president of consumer products at Carpenter Co., and creator of “The combination of excitement and stress can play havoc with our sleep patterns, and so what starts out as a season of great joy can often end up as a season of great exhaustion. That’s why ‘get to bed earlier’ often finds itself on many people’s list of New Year’s resolutions.”

For many Americans, however, the holidays are a time to catch up on their shut-eye. Two in five survey respondents (41%) say they typically get a chance to sleep in over the holidays, with 23 percent finding time for a nap. For a small percentage of the population (5%), “sleep and rest” is what they look forward to most over the holidays. “Being with family” was the most popular response at 79 percent.

Among other findings within the Holiday Slumber Index:

  • One in five Americans (21%) says they actually sleep better over the holidays.

    • Twice as many women (12%) than men (5%) say they sleep worse.

  • A higher percentage of Hispanics (41%) are worried about affording the holidays this year than the general population (35%).

  • 41% of all respondents say they get to sleep in over the holidays, but only 22% of those over age 55 do.

Survey Methodology
A nationally representative sample of 1,000 Americans was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus from October 28 through October 31, 2010. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to date from the U.S. Census Bureau.