Christmas can turn into Stress-mas

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but the week leading up to Christmas leaves many of us stressed out and sleep-deprived, research has shown.

According to a new study, most of us will be wishing we could ask Santa Claus to bring us a few extra hours of precious sleep as the big day looms ever closer.

A study found 45 per cent Aussies will lose 21 hours of sleep this week, while some women become so stressed out by festive preparations that when they do drop off they have Christmas-themed nightmares.

The survey of 2,000 adults found 45 per cent of Aussies will survive on a mere five hours of sleep per night over the next seven days, as time is swallowed up by late night socialising, staying up to wrap presents, or lying awake fretting over getting everything organised for Christmas Day.

Not only do people go to bed later this week, four out of ten adults will rise an hour earlier each morning in order to fit more in during the day.

When Christmas Eve comes around, a fifth of parents will work through the night making up stockings, assembling new toys, and carrying out last minute preparations.

While both sexes are likely to find their normal sleep pattern disrupted this week, it seems women suffer the most from the ‘Stressmas’ phenomenon.

A total of 59 per cent of women reported suffering high levels of stress in the week before Christmas, while 42 per cent declared that hosting Christmas was the most stressful job they had to undertake.

Many women also find themselves enduring festive nightmares due to the combination of stress and sleep-deprivation, the study said, with typical scary dreams ranging from being naked at the family Christmas lunch to being attacked by a gigantic turkey.

The study found 45 per cent of men think women make far too much fuss over Christmas and make the day a lot more stressful than it should be, while 36 per cent believe they could do a better job of hosting the day than their partners – and that it would be stress-free.

Meanwhile 85 per cent of women claimed men don’t understand or appreciate how much work and stress goes into creating the perfect Christmas, and 41 per cent fear their family and friends will not regard them as a domestic goddess but criticise their hosting skills.

According to the survey commissioned by hotel chain Travelodge, a third of women get more stressed when they have guests staying over during the festive season than they do while cooking Christmas dinner.

A quarter of female respondents said they enjoyed Christmas more then guests stayed just for the day rather than spending the night.

A further quarter of women said they didn’t like having guests to stay over because it means they can’t watch their favourite television programmes.

by Susan Floyd