Those Drowsy Parents, Teenage Appetites, Etc.

Don’t blame late-night TV for the nation’s sleep deficit. Blame the nation’s kids. It’s not just a matter of babies demanding 2 a.m. feedings. The National Sleep Foundation polled parents of kids age 10 and under and found a yawning gap throughout this cohort between the sleep they need and the sleep they get. Nearly half of the parents of infants catch less than seven hours of ZZZs per night, but so do 37 percent of the parents of school-age children. Asked whether they get enough sleep, 68 percent of infants’ parents said they don’t—as did 67 percent of those with toddlers, 67 percent of those with pre-schoolers and 62 percent of those with school-age kids. Not only do their offspring keep them up late and awaken them early. The stress of child-rearing also makes the parents more susceptible to insomnia. Twenty-nine percent said they experience insomnia at least a few nights a week; 48 percent said they suffer insomniac symptoms more than they did before having kids. Little wonder that 19 percent endure daytime sleepiness that interferes with their regular activities at least a few days per week. Twelve percent feel “emotionally worn out” usually or always. Even their driving suffers: 48 percent of parents said they’ve “driven drowsy” during the past year, and another 10 percent confessed to having dozed off at the wheel. Apart from that, everything’s fine!

People in advertising aren’t the cream of the crop, as far as other office workers are concerned. In a poll of white-collar employees and managers by Research International and Lightspeed Research, respondents were given a list of professions and asked whether they regard the people in each one as trustworthy. Forty-four percent said people in advertising are trustworthy. Far higher proportions of the respondents said doctors (97 percent), lawyers (97 percent), teachers (88 percent), bankers (84 percent) and police officers (71 percent) are trustworthy. But ad people can lord it over those in marketing, deemed trustworthy by just 40 percent of respondents. The results were less damning (comparatively speaking) when respondents were asked whether recruits to the various professions are “of high caliber.” Twenty percent saw ad-industry recruits in that light, putting them nearly on a par with accountants (22 percent) and bankers (26 percent) and above police officers (18 percent) and journalists (7 percent). And 35 percent said recruits to the marketing profession are people of high caliber. Comparing the bits of data on marketers, one might think their line of work attracts decent souls and turns them into devious professionals. Surely that can’t be.

Young adults wear out their bedrooms more than older adults. So we gather from a Vertis study of Americans’ furniture-purchase intentions. Overall, 17 percent of respondents said they plan to buy bedroom furniture over the next 12 months. There’s considerable variation by age, though. Among Gen X consumers (born 1965-76), 33 percent expect to make such a purchase. The number falls to 23 percent among the younger baby boomers (born 1956-64), to 11 percent among older boomers (1946-55) and to 6 percent among the “young olds” (1930-45).

How will rising gasoline prices affect consumer behavior? Asked in a BIGresearch poll to say what they’d do if gas prices averaged $2 per gallon, 41 percent of adults said they’d spend less on other goods; 49 percent said they’d take fewer driving vacations. In the I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it category, nearly one-fifth said they’d “buy a more fuel-efficient car.” In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey, meanwhile, 13 percent of adults called the price rise a “crisis,” while a calmer 56 percent said it has caused “major problems.” Either way, consumers who see it as “a temporary fluctuation” are outnumbered by those who believe it’s “a more permanent change in prices” (42 percent vs. 55 percent).

Given that a woman’s work is never done, how much of a break does she need to feel refreshed? In an online survey by Self, 33 percent of women said they need two or three working days off. For 24 percent, it takes a long weekend; a weary 17 percent need a week off before they’ll feel recharged. Unfortunately, 49 percent don’t use all the vacation days to which they’re entitled. What do women like to do when they get a vacation? Eighty percent want to use some of the time to travel; 73 percent want to “spend time with family and friends.” The number who want to use some time for “active outdoor adventures” (48 percent) is exceeded by the proportion who “simply want to sleep” (58 percent).

Teen boys are a food marketer’s dream: They’ll eat just about anything. A report by BuzzBack Market Research examines the dietary differences between boys and girls ages 13-18. Omnivores that they are, boys spend almost two more hours eating in a typical week than girls do (10.2 hours vs. 8.3). Boys eat more full meals per day than girls (2.3 vs. 2), which doesn’t prevent them from eating more daily snacks, too (3.3 vs. 3.1). When you strap on the feed bag so often, you’re less apt to be discriminating about its contents. “Fresh” is the food attribute most sought by the boys (68 percent do so), but it’s important to even more girls (80 percent). Twenty-nine percent of girls, vs. 15 percent of boys, care that a food is organic; 33 percent of girls, vs. 19 percent of boys, are influenced by low sodium content. Girls are much more likely than boys to seek unfattening foods (see the chart). While more girls than boys seek a product that’s caffeine-free (24 percent vs. 15 percent), more boys than girls are lured by one that features extra caffeine (25 percent vs. 14 percent).