A U.S. survey found single parents, particularly single moms, are the most sleep-deprived people in the entire country. Not doctors, not college students and not people who work in the information technology sectors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found 44 percent of single moms, who live with children under 18 years of age, lack the recommended daily 7 hours of snooze time. About 38 percent of single dads who live with children suffer the same.
Two-parent families do a little better, with only 33 percent of parents getting a little less of the recommended 7-hour sleep time. As expected, single parents have higher chances of developing insomnia and suffer from poor sleep quality.
Five consecutive days of late night sleep will require five straight days of getting to bed earlier in order to feel fully rested, according to Dr. Clete A. Kushida, Stanford Sleep Medicine Center's medical director. For most people, especially working parents, this could be quite an impossible feat.
Strong coffee isn't always the best go-to solution if you need to wake up. Kushida highly recommends a "well-orchestrated" nap as a top solution.
"A brief rest will probably keep you going for the rest of the workday," said Kushida.
Below are some tips on recovering from sleep deprivation if you need to have energy the rest of the day.
Power up your nap with espresso.
The caffeine in your coffee takes a while to kick in. Drinking coffee before taking a nap will make you feel twice as awake when you wake up. A previous study found that taking a nap after drinking coffee is an effective strategy to battle sleep deprivation. A short nap clears adenosine, a sleep-inducing compound, from the brain and allows the coffee enough time to work.
Limit napping to 10 to 20 minutes.
When sleep-deprived, giving into a nap feels absolutely wonderful but overindulging makes sleep deprivation worse. Kushida suggested limiting nap time to 10 to 20 minutes to hit the "sweet spot" and wake up refreshed. Napping longer will only put people in the deep stages of REM sleep, after which will make people feel groggier.
Drink coffee in moderation.
Sleep-deprived people often rely on caffeine to wake them up. While coffee aids in giving you that much-needed energy kick, in the long run, what you really need to do is to make up for lost sleep by sleeping.
Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, FusionSleep Center's chief medical officer, said drinking two cups of coffee can raise your alertness level at its highest during sleep deprivation. Drinking more than two cups will not raise it any higher, especially if you already drink a lot of caffeinated drinks.
Go easy on sugary snacks.
Sugar-packed snacks will give you a quick but short-lived energy boost. Protein-rich food such as plain Greek yogurt and eggs are great for sleep-deprived individuals instead of sugary cereals and milk. For lunch, steer clear of pasta and just focus on lean meat like fish and grilled chicken. If you're at the office and can't seem to resist munching on something, go for a handful of protein-packed nuts.
Photo: David J Laporte | Flickr