The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) recently released the results of the CDC National Health Interview Survey, 2013-2014 with a major finding regarding single parents and sleep:
Single parents, especially women, were more likely than adults in other types of families to have short sleep duration, frequently have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and frequently wake up feeling not well-rested.
If you are a parent, you must know that these results are not surprising. If you’re a single parent, you might be reading this and thinking, “Yeah, so what?” Regardless of the reason why you know this is true, it is staggering for the simple fact that we as single parents are being surveyed and analyzed outside of the concept of the well-being of our children. Many surveys that I have read have targeted single parents as everything under the sun, except for what we really are – parents trying to do our best for our children.
My years of non-sleep actually started when I was pregnant. It seemed that he was completely non-active during the day, but at night, the party would begin. I’m assuming it was all preparation for what was to come. Four years later, and I average about 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Even on the nights when I can get into bed early, I wake up between 1:00am and 3:00am, fully alert with thoughts running quickly through my mind about something I forgot or something I should get done. Sometimes I actually get up and get to it – homework, blogging, cleaning up, doing the laundry, or just simply thinking about what I had to get done. Other times, I start repeating over and over in my head, “Go to sleep”, until finally all thoughts slip away and I finally fall back asleep. Many times, my son wakes up and then it’s a wrap – he refuses to go back to sleep and even if I’m exhausted, guess what? I still have to stay awake. When I have to get ready for work, I’m utterly exhausted and left to survive on caffeine.
When I read through the results of the survey, I realized that I was not the only one experiencing similar situations. Many other single parents were struggling with sleep, and this survey proved that studies should focus more on things that impact single parents.
Check out some more findings from the CDC National Health Interview Survey, 2013-2014:
- Overall, single parents with children under age 18 years were more likely to have shorter sleep duration than adults in two-parent families with children under age 18 and adults living without children under age 18.
- Single parents were more likely than adults in two-parent families and adults living without children to have had trouble falling asleep four or more times in the past week.
- Overall, single parents were more likely than adults in other types of families to have had trouble staying asleep four or more times in the past week.
- Roughly one-half of single parents had frequently woken up feeling not well-rested in the past week, compared with only 4 in 10 adults in two-parent families and one-third of adults living without children.
- Adults in two-parent families were less likely than adults in other types of families to have taken medication to help fall or stay asleep four times or more in the past week.
What should you take away from these results?
- Sleep is a precious commodity, and we as single parents should strive to get more sleep overall. It re-energizes us, and allows us to charge our batteries for another day of raising our kids on our own.
- Single-parent families are on the rise and at an incredible pace in the past several years, and it is ever so evident when surveys are being conducted that care about the well-being of single parents and targeting this group for data analysis.
- Learn some healthy sleeping habits – sleep in a dark room and turn off all electronics, take an occasional nap – I’ll be sharing another post next week with some sleeping tips that may help.
- Sleeping is a major issue for everyone – lack of sleep leads to chronic illnesses, including heart disease, depression, etc. Try to squeeze in more rest and sleep somehow!
Do you believe sleep is a major issue for you? How do you attempt to get more sleep? Share some tips in the comments for a sleep tips post coming soon!
Visit these sites for more articles on the topic of sleep health of single parents:
Check out the conversation on the LA Times Facebook page….others understand why we single moms get no sleep.
Sleep Solutions for Single Mothers – SingleMom.com
4 Tips for Parenting While Sleep Deprived – PopSugar
This Just In: Single Moms Need More Sleep – She Speaks
18 Science-Backed Tips For Deeper, Longer Sleep – Mommypotamus
This is a post in the weekly series, Single Saturdays, where I’ll be sharing topics around single life. This series will be a weekly round-up of posts, articles, and more around the web about singlehood and single parenthood. As single parents, we’re not just moms and dads, we’re also single and either looking for new relationships, or like me, completely out of the game for a while. Whether you’re single or a single parent, you’ll enjoy checking out Single Saturdays each week for a good read.
Have a topic you want to see addressed? Make sure to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!