Taking care of a sick or elderly family member can oftentimes wreak havoc on one’s own health. Many family caregivers sacrifice their own well being to take care of someone they love, putting their own health on the backburner. Restless nights and worrisome thoughts lead to a lack of decent sleep, which can cause numerous additional health and safety issues for caregivers.
It has been shown that a lack of quality sleep can lead to weight gain, blood pressure increases, and blood sugar issues. When family caregivers are tired, they are also more likely to make mistakes at home and on the job, and they are at higher risk of causing a car accident. In addition, sleep deprivation makes people more irritable and causes memory loss and brain fog. A lack of sleep can also make everyday tasks seem harder. The good news is that there are steps that caregivers can take to enjoy more sleep and reap the benefits of sleep’s restorative powers.
Here are some tips to help family caregivers sleep better.
1. Eat well and exercise regularly
It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially if you are responsible for taking care of someone else. Maintaining a proper diet not only keeps your body healthy and helps you fight other diseases, but it can also help you sleep better. Exercise plays a crucial role in creating a better chance of quality sleep by helping to tire out the body physically, which helps you fall asleep. Oftentimes, it is an anxious mind that keeps you awake, but a tired body can help you fall asleep faster.
2. Create a proper sleeping environment
Ensure that the room you sleep in is cool, dark, and quiet. If you are staying in a house that has noises at night, perhaps due to medical equipment used by your loved one, consider investing in a white noise machine or download a white noise app for your phone. This may help drown out some of the noise.
If your loved one needs supervision at night, look into using a baby monitor instead of sleeping in the room where your loved one stays.
It is the mind that most often keeps you awake, especially if you are responsible for caring for another person. Consider stress-relieving activities such as breath work, meditation, and yoga. These activities will help you keep most of your anxious thoughts at bay. Make time during the day to write out some of your thoughts, and use “to-do” lists to manage your responsibilities. Don’t bring those lists into the bedroom with you, but manage them during designated times of day.
4. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom
Unless you are using a device for sleep purposes, such as a white noise machine or a baby monitor, any device that could make noise or light-up during the night should not be in the bedroom. This will limit nighttime disturbances and distractions. Avoid reading on your phone right before bed, and instead, have books or magazines by the bedside to read if you need to prior to falling asleep.
5. Consider in-home caregiving
Hiring a professional caregiver to come to the home and care for your loved one can save you lots of sleepless nights. Having an experienced caregiver to watch over your loved one during the day and/or night will give you peace-of-mind to get the things done that you need to do in order to take care of yourself.
If you are a family caregiver who needs assistance with your caregiving responsibilities, give us a call at 24/7 Nursing Care. We have a team of professional caregivers who are trained to cater to a wide range of needs of those who require care due to age, disease, disability, or medical procedure. Schedule a free in-home consultation or call us with any questions at 786-518-3622.
Jacobs, B. J. (2017, January 09). 4 Tips for Better Sleep While Caregiving, Caregiving Health. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.aarp.org/home-family/caregiving/info-2017/4-tips-for-better-sleep-while-caregiving.html?utm_sq=ffm9h08mp9&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=NA4Caregiving&utm_content=Articles%2FDYK%2FTips
Sleep Loss Is a Hidden Cost of Caregiving. (n.d.). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from http://www.caringnews.com/en/127/1/107/Sleep-Loss-Is-a-Hidden-Cost-of-Caregiving.htm