How Does Christmas Morning Affect Your Family’s Sleep Schedule? We Found Out

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Ask any parent of small children, and you’ll likely hear that Christmas morning starts early. Excited children are eager to see whether they made the naughty or nice list, which means some of them are rousing their parents much earlier than usual—no matter how hard it is to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. 

We polled 1,063 parents with children in their homes who participate in opening gifts on Christmas to see just how early the festivities generally begin—and the results may surprise you. On average, just over 38% of children wake up early, around 32% wake up at their usual time, and almost 29% actually wake up later than usual on Christmas morning. Here’s what else our survey found.

What are the earliest times kids wake up to open presents?

Of the roughly 38% of kids who wake up earlier on Christmas, just over 47% woke up a full sixty to ninety minutes earlier than a typical morning. For families who typically start their day around 7 a.m., that means Christmas morning is definitely an early start!

By Generation of Parents

Younger parents are more likely to have kids who wake up early on Christmas. Gen Z parents (born between 1997 and 2010) had the highest percentage of early risers, with roughly 30% of their children waking up at 6 a.m. to open presents. 

Millennial parents (born between 1981 and 1996) aren’t far behind. About 29% of their children also wake up at 6 a.m. on Christmas. Some children of Gen Z and millennial parents start Christmas morning even earlier. Just over 12% of this group wake up at 5 a.m.

About 34% of the children of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) parents combined wake up at 6 a.m. 

Children who wake up at 7 or 8 a.m. were fairly evenly distributed across all four parent generations polled.

  • Almost 38% of the kids of baby boomers wake up at 7 am, and about 22% of this group wake up at 8 am.
  • About 30% of the kids of Gen X wake up at 7 am, and 25% wake up at 8 am.
  • Almost 28% of the kids of Gen Z wake up at 7 am, and 25% wake up at 8 am.
  • Just over 34% of kids of millennial parents wake up at 7 am, and about 19% wake up an hour later.

By Age of Youngest Child

According to our survey, a child’s age also plays a role in how early they’re likely to wake up on Christmas morning. Over 50% of parents surveyed had kids under 10 years old who wake up before 8 a.m. to open presents. Kids older than 14 are most likely to wake up at 8 a.m.

How holiday travel may get in the way of your children’s sleep schedule

Sleep is an important part of a child’s health, and kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be run down and irritable. Here’s what the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends for sleep amount by age in a 24-hour period, including naps:

  • Under age one: 12 to 17 hours
  • 1-2 years: 11 to 14 hours
  • 3-5 years: 10 to 13 hours
  • 6-12 years: 9 to 12 hours
  • 13-18: 8 to 10 hours

Making sure your child gets enough sleep can be tricky around the holiday season, especially since holiday travel may disrupt their typical sleep schedule. In our survey, just over 18% of parents polled said their families travel out of town for the holidays, and 25% travel on Christmas morning.

Just under 40% of families said that they don’t travel for the holidays and spend Christmas morning at home. Whether your family celebrates Christmas at home or away, it’s important to get back on track with a normal sleep schedule after the holidays. Sleep debt is the last thing you want as we welcome a new year, so prioritize good sleep hygiene to help you and your family get the deep sleep you deserve.

Jessica Timmons