Sleep deprivation is not uncommon for single moms. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly normal for single moms to experience the effects of sleep deprivation or insomnia as they work to adequately care for their children.
Sleep deprivation or insomnia can lead to a number of physical and emotional problems. It can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression and injury.
Sleep Deprivation or Insomnia Is Prevalent Among Single Moms, Report Shows
Being a single mom can really stretch you thin. Between working and taking care of your children, there may be little time to take care of yourself or find time to sleep. And if your child is a newborn, the time you do get to sleep is even further diminished as you’re getting up every night to handle any problems that arise.
This is why single moms are far more likely to experience sleep deprivation compared to two-parent households or households without children—they even fare worse than single dads. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that roughly 43% of single moms get less than the recommended seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. There are a number of negative health impacts caused by sleep deprivation that are amplified when trying to raise a child alone.
It’s no secret that money and time can be tight for a single mom. It’s a good thing, therefore, that there are a number of natural home remedies to help single moms treat sleep deprivation.
10 Home Remedies to Cure Sleep Deprivation (Insomnia)
1. Set up a bedroom that encourages sleep
One of the biggest challenges to getting a good night’s sleep these days is that bedrooms now resemble living rooms. If you want to encourage sleep, you need your bedroom to be free of visual stimulants, technology and screens. Remove your television and computer, read from a book instead of a tablet and keep your smartphone on sleep mode and out of arm’s reach!
The lights in smartphones, tablets and television sets can stimulate your eyes and brain to keep you awake longer and make it more difficult to get sleep. Furthermore, they all provide an outlet to cut into sleep time. Instead, keep the lights in your room dim, perhaps have an aromatherapy diffuser, rocking chair and reading materials to help you doze off.
2. Create a sleep schedule
Routine is very important to quality sleep. And although it can be difficult to keep a routine when you’re trying to raise kids, try your best to stick to one. Remember, you’re the boss! Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and begin the process about an hour before you actually tuck yourself in. After the kids are in bed and you’ve taken a moment to yourself, begin to get ready.
This can involve shutting down the television and computer, doing some reading or perhaps taking a relaxing bath with some essential oils. After you’ve dried yourself and got ready for sleep, go into your room and listen to some relaxing music or sounds, read a book and fully relax. By the time you get into bed your body and brain will know what time it is: sleep time!
3. Listen to calming music or sounds at a low volume
Some people just sleep better with a little bit of white noise in the background. In fact, it you have young children who have trouble sleeping, it might help them too. If a noise box isn’t something you need, then maybe some relaxing sounds (i.e. water rolling, wind, etc.) might help. Calming sounds or relaxing music at a low volume has proven to help sleep quality in certain individuals, so give it a try!
4. Sit in a rocking chair
A single mom might know all about rocking her baby to sleep, but did you know it can help you, too? Swiss researchers studied individuals sleeping in hammock-like beds and found they fell asleep faster and entered restorative deep sleep sooner than people who slept in a regular bed. Perhaps the swinging sensation induces sleep and can be replicated by rocking in a rocking chair—just make sure it’s not too far from your bed!
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve sleep. It can knock out stress, improve your mood and work wonders for the sleep quality, working as a central combatant in the fight against insomnia. Exercise also releases endorphins that encourage sleep, while actually helping to make your body tired and in need of recovery at bed time.
It can be difficult with a child, but gyms often have daycares. If you want to workout at home or by walking/jogging around the neighborhood, the kids can participate. After all everybody wins when they have more activity in their lives—especially children!
6. Cherry juice
You’ve probably heard about cutting the caffeine after 2 p.m. and limiting alcohol intake (contrary to popular belief, booze can sabotage a night of quality sleep), but did you know that drinking two glasses of cherry juice per day can encourage a night of sound sleeping? A 2010 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed people who drank cherry juice twice per day fell asleep sooner than those using a placebo. The reason is likely because cherry juice is naturally high in melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle. Just be sure to avoid juices with added sugars!
7. Write down stresses
Another major reason you might not be sleeping is that you’ve got stuff on your mind. You’ve got work, the kids, lunches and all the other responsibilities of a single mom and it can be a lot to take. Because you can’t just turn off your brain, you must do your best to put it at ease. Write down what’s on your mind and what you have to do tomorrow, and come up with a plan of action.
When you do this, you can have your plan in place and shore up the questions about how to handle your day, thus relieving stress.
8. Cheese and crackers
The combination of carbs, calcium and protein can be a nice natural remedy for sleep deprivation. It can boost your serotonin levels to help you feel calmness, but just be sure to give yourself time to digest before bed. Eat the snack about an hour before bed, and don’t feel like you have to stick to cheese and crackers.
Some other suitable alternatives are whole grain toast with Swiss cheese or turkey; banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter; whole grain cereal and fat-free milk or fruit and a low-fat yogurt.
Scents like vanilla and lavender can do a lot to relax you, reduce stress and encourage sleep. Use a diffuser to release these essential oils in your bedroom as you get ready for bed and you might notice a real difference.
10. Take a nap during the day
Having a bad night of sleep can’t be fixed with a 20- or 30-minute nap, but a nap can definitely help. If you have the opportunity for some shuteye during the day, take it. About 20-30 minutes can help you feel refreshed and restored. Just don’t sleep for too long because it could sabotage you sleep cycle that night!
Sleep Deprivation Treatments for Single Moms
Getting a good night’s sleep can make a big difference in the health and happiness of you and your children. Although many single moms are pressed for time and more likely to experience sleep deprivation, there are plenty of natural treatments at your disposal. Find the ones that work best for your schedule and do you best to make the choices that put your health at a premium!
Sources for Today’s Article:
Breus, M., “Sleep Habits: More Important Than You Think,” WebMD web site, March 15, 2006; http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/important-sleep-habits.
Miller, S. G., “The Spooky Effects of Sleep Deprivation,” LiveScience web site, October 27, 2015; http://www.livescience.com/52592-spooky-effects-sleep-deprivation.html.
Nugent, C., “Sleep Duration, Quality of Sleep, and Use of Sleep Medication, by Sex and Family Type, 2013-2014,” CDC web site; http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db230.htm, last accessed January 11, 2016.