Among the health challenges caregivers sometimes encounter is insomnia. For some, it is the result of an inability to relax after a long and stressful day. Others fret and worry that they aren’t doing a good job caring for their senior loved one. Whatever the cause, it can make the role of caregiver more difficult.
Sleep deprivation is more than an inconvenience. In fact, not getting enough sleep can cause a variety of problems:
- Unhealthy weight gain
- Trouble concentrating
- Decreased stamina
Research shows that poor sleepers are even more likely to experience heart disease and strokes.
If you are a caregiver struggling to get a good night’s sleep, here are a few steps you can take to beat insomnia.
How to Get a Good Night’s Rest
- Establish a routine: While it might be tempting to sleep late on weekends to catch up on sleep you missed during the week, experts say this isn’t the best idea. Having a schedule that you stick with for getting up and going to bed can help improve your sleep.
- Ditch the devices: From televisions to tablets to cell phones, we are a nation obsessed with technology. While some devices can help a busy caregiver manage their responsibilities, they can also disrupt sleep during the night. Try to turn devices off as bedtime gets closer. Relax and enjoy a good book instead.
- Skip the nap: Another habit that might be keeping you from enjoying a good night’s sleep is napping. While it might help you feel better immediately afterward, a nap may keep you from being able to fall asleep at a decent hour.
- Evaluate your bedroom: It may also help to take a good look around your bedroom. Are curtains blocking out light or just filtering it? Light sleepers might find blackout curtains to be helpful. Are your mattress and pillow comfortable? Are noises from outdoor sources, such as trains, traffic, or a barking dog the culprit? A white noise machine or ear plugs may be a solution.
- Consider journaling: If you’ve never tried it before, journaling can be a great way to get your anxieties and fears out of your subconscious mind and down on paper. It’s a quick activity many caregivers have found to be helpful.
- Address your worries: Is it concern for the senior you are providing care for that is keeping you up at night? If they live alone, are you afraid they will fall or experience another emergency? Pinpointing the cause of your worry might help you create an action plan for addressing it. For some, it might be installing an emergency call system. Other seniors might benefit from a move to an assisted living community.
- Exercise early in the day: While caregivers are usually busy all day, that doesn’t usually count as physical exercise. Try to work 30 minutes of exercise into your schedule each day. You can even do it in two 15-minute sessions. The goal is to exercise early in the day, so you can relax and unwind in the evening.
If none of these tips help you overcome your sleep problems, it might be time to seek the advice of your physician. They may be able to find the root cause of what’s keeping you up at night.
Respite Care at Five Star Senior Living
Sometimes a caregiver just needs a few days free from caring for a loved one. Respite services can be an ideal solution. Call us today (617) 796-8387 to learn more!