Single parents prone to sleeping problems
While single parents topped the list of being the most sleep deprived, single moms were reported to have the greatest amount of sleep issues, according to a new study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The amount of sleep a person gets can affect a person’s health and value in life, according to the CDC. Those include an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, mental health problems like depression, and driving and workplace accidents.
The CDC labels single-parent families as those without a biological or legal guardian in the household. Among families who have children under the age of 18, the percentage that are of single-parent families has climbed to 32 percent over the past several decades.
The research showed that 44 percent of single women living with children under the age of 18 are not getting the suggested number of hours of sleep each night. Single fathers seem to get a little more sleep as only 38 percent were reported to be sleep deprived.
In addition to not receiving enough sleep, the study found that single parents also had the most problems with falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. The data found 24 percent of single mothers and 17 percent of single fathers said they had a problem with falling asleep a few nights out of the week.
“The article brings up interesting points on how household structure might influence sleep quality,” Matthew Balog, pediatric clinical sleep educator at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Research has continually shown that a strong support system can be beneficial in many health areas. However, a sleep quality can be influenced through a myriad of issues aside from a single-parent household.”
In addition, Dr. Muhammad Hamadeh, pulmonologist with Advocate Medical Group in Palos Heights, Ill., offers the following five tips for a good night’s sleep:
- Relax an hour before bed and develop sleep rituals – After a day of running around, it may be hard to calm yourself down at night. Allow yourself an hour before bed to let your mind and body wind down with soothing activities and thoughts.
- Head into bed only when you are tired – Only lay in bed when you’re ready to go to sleep. You want your mind to associate your bed with sleep, not work or television. If you are still awake after 20 minutes, go into another room for a relaxing activity until you are ready for bed.
- Don’t watch the clock – Continuously checking the clock puts pressure on yourself, adding more stress to the environment and preventing you from falling asleep.
- Follow a regular sleep schedule – Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Fluctuating bedtimes confuse your internal clock, throwing off your sleep schedule.
- No naps – No matter how good they make you feel, do not nap. It can throw off your sleep schedule at night.
“When people don’t get sleep on a regular basis it can cause daytime drowsiness, irritability and low concentration,” Dr. Hamadeh says. “Sleep is also vital to the immune system, so lack of sleep can potentially lead to illnesses.”
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