New Survey Shows Kids Are Waking Up Earlier Than Expected on Christmas Day


Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, that might not be the case for parents with little ones wanting to open their presents well before the sun rises. And this year, waking up early will likely be the reality for many parents. 

According to a new survey by Happy Beds that included 2,000 participants, the average wake time for children on Christmas morning was 6:44 a.m — if you have a young kiddo at home, you might want to forget any dreams about sleeping in on that cozy December morning. (1)

On the flip side, parents of teens shouldn’t be too concerned — your teens will likely want to sleep in as much as you do. The survey showed that only 15 percent of teens will willingly wake up before 7 a.m despite the promise of presents. 

Ideally, Christmas would be a relaxing day — not a stressful one that has you waking up earlier than you do for work. We know that probably sounds like a fantasy to anyone with kids — that’s why we talked to an expert on how you can calm your child before bedtime (without sneaking one of Santa’s cookies before bed) so they can sleep peacefully throughout the night and stay in bed just a little longer before waking up to open presents. 

How To Get Your Child To Sleep A Little Longer On Christmas Day

Christmas time is unlike any other time of year. It’s loaded with family activities, holiday sweets, and — especially for kids — the thrill of opening gifts. It’s no wonder kiddos near and far are waking up before the sun rise! Charlynn Ruan, a clinical psychologist and founder and CEO of Thrive Psychology Group, gave us a few tips to break through the excitement and push for that good night’s sleep. (2)

Avoid Too Much Stimulation

To begin, she explained that Christmas brings about considerable emotional and social stimulation. When coupled with a lack of physical activity, this combination may result in a more restless or lighter sleep. On the other hand, too much mental and physical stimulation too close to bed can also mean saying goodbye to a good night’s sleep.  

“On Christmas morning, [children] are more likely to wake just enough to remember they have a pile of presents waiting for them and get a burst of adrenaline, which will wake them up completely and make it hard to fall back asleep,” Ruan explains.

That’s why it’s best to try to get in front of the problem — lean into the excitement during the day, but keep any favorite calming bedtime activities in your back pocket as evening approaches.

Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

Most of us know what a sugar high looks like. With gingerbread men, Santa’s cookies and other holiday favorites lying around, your kids may be indulging in sweets more than usual — and thus, more at risk to be restless come bedtime.

Ruan says cutting out the sugary drinks or snacks as bedtime approaches can make a big difference for your child’s sleep quality — and hopefully will keep them from that enthusiastic 2 a.m. wake up most parents would like to avoid.  

Keep Routine in Mind

And despite the holiday, it’s still best for children to stick with their normal nighttime routine — the more familiar their bedtime routine is, the easier it will be for your kids to wind down like they normally do. Of course, Ruan acknowledges that following this strategy can be challenging, given the many family fun activities you might have planned on Christmas Eve — finding the right balance is crucial, so just try to do your best.

Christmas should be a magical holiday for everyone who celebrates, but parent’s definitely bear the brunt when it comes to sleep deprivation and stress. Try out the above tips to catch a few extra Zzzs on Christmas morning — those extra few minutes can make all the difference.

  • 1. Hinde N. We bet you can’t guess the average time kids wake up on Christmas Day. HuffPost UK. December 11, 2024. Accessed December 14, 2024.,morning%20is%20actually%206.44am.

  • 2. Thrive Psychology Group. Accessed December 14, 2024.

  • Ruan, Charlynn. Personal Interview. December 13, 2o23.

Ava Girardi

Ava Girardi

Ava Girardi is an Editorial News Intern for Sleepopolis. She loves writing about all things sleep from viral bedtime routines on TikTok to studies on sleep quality that will help you get the most helpful information to achieve that perfect bedtime routine. Ava is currently studying at Elon University where she is a double major in journalism and media analytics. When she is not writing, Ava is spending time with friends or family, running, or trying new yummy foods.

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