Single moms lose more sleep time

By Rebecca Burton • Published: April 26th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Being a single parent is hard work. Doctor’s appointments, school pickups and soccer practice are just a few of the things to juggle on top of working a full-time job and finding time to sleep.

Now, a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics reinforces the single-parent struggle. Results showed that single mothers with children aged 18 and younger were more likely than other adults to get less than seven hours of sleep each night. That’s less than the seven to nine hours of sleep that the National Sleep Foundation recommends for adults.

The authors of the study found the lack of sleep wasn’t just caused by a simple lack of time. Rather, these mothers typically had more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. They were also more likely to wake up without feeling refreshed. More than half of single parents reported not feeling well-rested, compared with 42 percent of adults in two-parent families.

Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, the team found that 33 percent of adults from two-parent households were sleep-deprived, compared with nearly 43 percent of single parents. But women had the hardest time: Nearly 44 percent of single mothers got less than seven hours of sleep each night, compared with 32 percent of single fathers.

Numerous studies have shown that lack of sleep can be a risk factor for depression, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re a single parent, the National Sleep Foundation offers tips to create a healthy sleep routine on its website. Sticking to a sleep schedule, practicing a relaxing bedtime ritual and exercising regularly can lead to a better night’s sleep.