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10 Sleep Tips for First Time Single Parents

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Getting adequate sleep is very important as a single parent. However, with all the demands on your time, you may find it difficult to get enough sleep during the night.

I remember when I first came home with my twins, I had the hardest time adjusting to motherhood. The main challenge I faced was getting adequate sleep since I was with them 24/7. Once they started sleeping longer during the night, it made it easier for me to get more sleep. However, I still struggled because I was working odd hours at work and I had so much on my plate that I went to sleep late.

Isn’t it funny that your kids can go to sleep late but still wake up energetic while you struggle to get out of bed? You may not feel the effects of sleep deprivation immediately but as it prolongs, you experience certain symptoms. For me, I realized that I was always tired, I had migraines, and I craved sweets whenever things were overwhelming.

5 Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

1. You Are Always Tired

If you find that you are always tired, even after waking up, you may have not gotten enough rest.

2. You Get Upset Easily

Whenever I find myself getting easily frustrated with my kids, I always have to remember that it maybe because I didn’t get enough rest. In the same way, if you are really cranky and your emotions are all over the place, it may be an indication that you need more rest.

3. You Crave Junk Food

Lack of sleep does affect the foods you crave. You may find yourself craving more junk food and this is only because you are sleep deprived.

4. You’re Gaining Weight

In order for you to lose weight, you need adequate rest so it only makes sense that not getting enough rest contributes to weight gain. Furthermore, our bodies recharge at night so when you don’t get enough rest, your body doesn’t get a chance to recharge.

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5. You’re Drinking More Coffee

Sleep affects our energy levels. Thus the lack of sleep and energy may lead you to consume more coffee in an attempt to replenish.

Tips To Help You Get More Sleep With Newborns

Here are some tips to help you get more rest for the first few months as a new mom. I had to learn these the hard way as a single twin mom.

1. Accept Help

When Hodari and Milambu were newborns, I relied on my family a lot to help me. Coming home from the hospital, I had to recover from surgery and still care for them. Honestly, I don’t know how I could have recovered without my mom’s help and that is why I am so grateful for her.

She took the whole month of March off from work so she could assist me. She would come to my apartment and spend the day with me helping me with different tasks and in the evening, she slept with me so she can get up to help nurse them.

2. Pump Throughout The Day

In order for my mom to help nurse them at night so I can sleep, I had to ensure that there was enough milk. Therefore, I would pump throughout the day.

Pumping while still breastfeeding them throughout the day was hard but my body produced the milk as they needed it. There were days when I couldn’t pump enough because my milk supply couldn’t keep up and in those cases, my mom would wake me when they wake up so I can breastfeed.

3. Sleep While They Sleep

Since they are still newborns, they sleep longer periods during the day so take that time to sleep as well so you can be slightly recharged to take care of them at night.

4. Move In With Family

As a single mom, having a strong support system is really beneficial. Therefore, if you have family around and they are willing to help you, it may be a good idea to move back in with your family for the first few months so they can support you better.

In April of 2019, my mom got into an accident and since I was relying on her so much, I decided to go stay with my family while she recovered. This made it easy for my family to support me.

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Tips For Getting More Rest As They Grow

I thought that I would only have to deal with sleep deprivation in the newborn phase but that hasn’t been true. Being a single mom has required that I sacrifice a lot more. I am grateful that my boys (now 13 months) sleep through the night, however, now that they can walk, they consume more of my energy and make a mess of my apartment during the day.

Not only does cleaning keep me up at night, literary, I am also working on developing a business through YouTube and blogging so that I can have more freedom in the future and being that I am with my kids 24/7 it’s difficult getting work done during the day so I find myself working late hours. Just recently I terminated a position where I was working overnights and that severely impacted my sleep schedule.

So now, as they have grown, I am having to find ways to get more sleep so I can be the best for them. Here are some tips I have been using that may be beneficial to you.

1. Plan Out Your Day

The main reason I end up going to bed late is because I allow certain activities and work to go on late into the night. One of the lessons I have learned is to plan out my day and have a cutoff time for when to stop working and go to bed. If I don’t do this, I am more likely to stay up til 1 or 3 am which does not allow for adequate rest.

I would recommend that you plan out the activities that will take place during your day and include the time you will stop working and start preparing for bed. Stick to that schedule and be consistent with the bedtime you’ve set.

2. Take Naps

There was a time when I thought that napping was for sissies and babies, haha. Now, as a sleep-deprived mama, I enjoy naps and I have definitely benefited from the occasional power nap while my kids are napping as well, especially after those nights when I didn’t get much rest.

3. Journal

If you find that your lack of adequate sleep is caused by too many thoughts then consider journaling before going to bed. This will allow you to dump all of your thoughts on paper freeing your mind thus making it easier for you to fall asleep.

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4. Exercise

Exercise has a lot of benefits. One of which is reducing stress which ultimately allows you to sleep better at night. Therefore, develop a workout routine that works with your schedule and budget and stick to it.

5. Limit Phone Use Before Bedtime

This is the number one reason I stay up late sometimes. I get so caught up with my phone that I end up staying up late and then wonder how it happened! If you find that you have a hard time letting go of your phone before bedtime, like me, then you may need to take strict measures in ensuring that you are limiting phone use before bedtime.

6. Stop Trying To Do It All

As a single parent, you may feel pressure to do it all: whether it’s keeping a clean house, preparing healthy meals for your children, working and creating a better future for them, or being there in the many ways that they need you. That it can be overwhelming and if you try to do it all, you find that the results are lack of sleep and burnout.

Therefore, I want to encourage you to stop trying to do it all. Understand that there are some days when you’ll have to go to sleep with your to-do list still undone. There times when the house is going to stay messy while you care for your kids and that is ok.

Make sure that you are well taken care of so that you can be the best version of yourself for your children. They need you happy, they need you energized, and they need you well-rested.

Your children need you happy, energized, and well-rested. Your to-do list can wait. Click To Tweet

What are some of your tips for getting more sleep at night? Let me know in the comments.

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