With so much to accomplish during the day, worries and stresses may keep us up at night causing us to not get as much sleep as we need each night.
According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, single moms are the most sleep deprived, with 44% of single moms getting less than the recommended seven hours of nightly rest. Not too far behind are single dads at 38%.
For married parents, the percentage is slightly better at 33%, while married people without children is 31% not getting adequate sleep.
It seems that a big factor in sleep deprivation is struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
Interestingly, those without children were more likely to take a sleep aid to assist in getting a good night's rest. (Perhaps because parents need to be somewhat alert while they're sleeping in case there's a kid emergency.)
Why is getting adequate sleep important?
The Los Angeles Times reported that there are increased risks of heart disease, diabetes and depression for those who do not get enough rest. Additionally, they are more likely to be involved in a car crash or workplace accidents. Those who don't get enough sleep are also more likely to suffer a premature death.
What can we do to get better, more adequate rest?
Find ways to de-stress
Increased stress can disrupt sleep patterns. It can cause worrying, panic and restlessness. If you can take time to meditate, do yoga, listen to calming music, take a warm bath or do other relaxation techniques, this can improve the quality of sleep.
Live a healthy lifestyle
For your body to work properly, you need to take care of it by giving it what it needs. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink adequate water. Take time to exercise daily, whether it's walking, running, an exercise video, or taking classes at a gym.
Be careful of caffeine
Many of us use caffeine as a way to have energy, but overuse can also make you more tired, yet unable to sleep. Limit your caffeine use and avoid it in the mid to late afternoon and evening. Caffeine will keep you up at night when you need to be asleep.
Turn off lights at night— including TVs and devices
Watching TV at night can keep you awake because of the brightness. Our bodies are sensitive to light, as light is a natural signal that it's time to be awake. Similarly, using cell phones or devices can cause us to miss out on our shut-eye. If you must have a light on at night, keep it dim, like a nightlight. If you wake in the night and can't fall back asleep, turning on the TV or cell phone will only make it worse. Set a lights out rule for yourself.
Create a restful atmosphere
Perhaps certain smells will help you relax and sleep better. Taking slow, deep breaths can naturally help your body release the day's tension. Others may prefer listening to soft music with the lights off. Make sure your bed is comfortable and conducive to sleep. Your bedroom should be a place free of distractions and stress. Avoid bringing work, including housework, such as laundry, into your bedroom.
Sleep is important not only to feel well-rested, but also for your health. You may argue that you don't have time to get adequate sleep. But if you don't take care of yourself, you'll be prone to sicknesses and less able to care for others.