3 Things You Can Do as a Single Parent to Manage Sleep Deprivation and Night Waking in Children


There are few things more frustrating for tired, single parents than trying to solve the problem of children who do not sleep well. When your children wake up frequently at night, they become sleep deprived and more difficult to handle during the day because they are cranky and tired. You also are sleep deprived when your children don’t sleep well, which makes it more difficult to be patient with them.

Single parents especially suffer when their children have trouble sleeping through the night because they don’t have a partner with whom to share the duties and get some rest. Our tips will help you get your children to sleep better so that you can get more sleep, too.

1. Create a Stress-Free Home That Promotes Health and Sleep

While you certainly are not doing anything intentionally to contribute to your child’s sleep trouble, you may be doing so inadvertently. For example, kids who live in cluttered homes experience more stress. Cluttered homes also impact family members’ ability to focus and process information.

Thus, minimizing the clutter in your kids’ bedrooms can relieve stress and make it easier for them to relax and sleep. To rectify the situation, work with your kids to sort their belongings and find a place for everything they want to keep. While some kids may be unwilling to part with some of their things at first, you can entice them to do so by discussing the virtues of donating clothing and toys to goodwill or proposing the idea of selling their excess belongings to a second-hand store or having a yard sale.

Assist your kids in organizing their belongings in closets and dressers or on shelves. If you need some storage ideas for your kids’ rooms, check out the DIY storage ideas from DIY & Crafts.

Another way to create a stress-free environment for your kids to promote health and sleep is to add elements of nature to their rooms. Studies show that exposure to nature boosts people’s moods and reduces stress. Consider adding a painting or photograph of nature to your children’s bedroom wall or placing plants on their windowsill. If you’re worried that the plants will not receive the proper care they need to grow and thrive, think about creating a terrarium with your kids or using succulents that require less care than typical houseplants.

2. Dim Lights After Sunset

Melatonin is a hormone that impacts our sleep and wakefulness. Research shows that kids who are exposed to bright artificial lights after sunset develop a later rise time for melatonin, which makes it difficult for them to relax and fall asleep at their bedtime. One solution is to dim the lights in your home after sunset. Another solution is to pay attention to when your children naturally settle down and seem ready for bed. There is a chance you may have set a bedtime that is too early for their natural rise in melatonin.

3. Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine

Kids thrive when parents create consistent routines. Once you find the ideal bedtime, stick to it each night. In fact, you should establish a regular nighttime routine that signals to your children that it is time to begin winding down and preparing to sleep. Researchers contend that irregular bedtimes interrupt kids’ normal, 24-hour circadian patterns, which then disrupt their physical and mental functioning.

Consistent bedtimes result in better-quality sleep and more sleep, which fosters brain development. You can turn bedtime into a consistent routine by including a regular bath time, story time, and lights-out time.

It’s also a good idea to avoid large meals close to bedtime and to avoid giving your kids sugary snacks or drinks or caffeine within a few hours of going to bed. You also should limit stimulating activities after dinner and not allow electronics and television at least 20 minutes before bedtime.

There is no magic formula you can use to get your kids to sleep better, but there are some steps you can take to improve their sleep and limit night waking. Begin by creating a stress-free home that promotes health and sleep. Then, dim your lights after sunset and create a consistent routine for your kids.

Image via Pixabay by fujikama

Written by

Daniel Sherwin