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The 12 Days of Christmas Sanity: A Dozen Gifts to Give Yourself This Year

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7 of 12

The 12 Days of Christmas Sanity: Day 7

On the seventh day of Christmas,
I gave a gift to me:
Seven hours sleeping
Six forum comrades
Five "Thanks, but no thanks,"
Four helpful kids
Three best friends,
Two great big hugs,
And an evening out just for me.

On average, how much sleep do you get per night? In all of my work with single moms and dads, I'd have to say that the one constant, across the board--whether you co-parent or not, whether your family is thriving, or whether you're struggling to get by--is that solo moms and dads tend to cut their own slumber short in order to get everything done. And I'm not talking about getting 6 or 7 hours of sleep instead of the recommended 8. Many single parents are getting by on five hours or less per night, consistently.

If this sounds like you, I'd encourage you to experiment with getting more sleep. It's a great way to be kind to yourself! And it's true that going to bed earlier is going to mean that some stuff just won't get done, but you have to ask yourself what kind of quality work you're doing at 2 a.m., anyway. Plus, you may find that with more sleep, you'll actually be able to work more quickly and efficiently during your waking hours.

Try increasing your sleep by half an hour at first, and see if you notice a difference. And if you're feeling really brave, tell your kids what you're doing, too. I know my children can tell when I'm sleep-deprived, because my patience is usually the first thing to go!

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