Caregivers Need Sleep, Too! Five Tips for Better Sleep
Do you often feel exhausted? Can’t remember when the last time you had a good night’s sleep was? Sleep deprivation is pretty common for caregivers. They may lose sleep because they get up during the night to assist seniors with their needs. Or, they may sleep poorly because of stress and emotional distress. If you’re a caregiver for someone with dementia, your sleep may be especially at risk. Studies have shown that 70 percent of people who are caregivers for someone with dementia have problems sleeping. 60 percent of them get less than seven hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can have serious negative effects on the health of the caregiver. If you’re one of the many caregivers who are suffering from lack of sleep, here are five tips to help you get more sleep.
1. Keep Nighttime Caregiving Short and Quiet.
If the senior wakes you during the night for help, avoid turning on the lights if possible. Take care of whatever is needed quickly and with as little conversation as possible. Don’t engage the senior in anything that is mentally stimulating since it will make going back to sleep harder for both of you. Go right back to bed.
2. Create a Peaceful Sleeping Space.
Unless it is absolutely necessary, don’t sleep in the same room as the senior. If you’re worried you won’t hear them, set up a baby monitor. Make your sleeping space as dark, quiet, and cool as possible. This will signal your body that it is time to sleep. The room should only contain things that soothe you. Don’t let it become a catch-all space for clutter or things that relate to your caregiving duties.
3. Increase Exercise.
Exercise is a natural method of reducing stress. It also tires you out, which makes it more likely that you will sleep well. It has the added benefit of being good for your overall health. However, avoid exercising close to bed time because it could keep you awake.
4. Keep a Regular Schedule.
As tempting as it might be to sleep in when you get the chance, or to stay up later to get more done, not sticking to a regular schedule can throw off your sleep pattern. If you typically use a day off to play catch up on the sleep you lost during the week, try going to bed a little earlier each day instead.
5. Share the Load.
Try to share nighttime caregiving with other family caregivers. Experts say that the best way to share nighttime duties is to schedule three nights on in a row and then three nights off in a row. This allows for better sleep than trading every other night with another caregiver. If there is not another family caregiver who can help with nights, hiring a professional home care provider who can spend nights with your parent can allow you to get the sleep you need.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregiver services in Allentown, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.