Caregivers: Are You Taking Care Of Yourself?

More than ever before, people are stretched between caring for aging family members and, at the same time, caring for their children.  This is difficult for many reasons, but one of the most challenging aspects is the impact that such a dual caregiving role can have on your sleep health.  Thankfully, it’s also an area that you can take several steps toward improving.

1. The Problem

Sleep deprivation is a fact of live for many caregivers, but the temptation to downplay its effects should be resisted.  Lack of sleep doesn’t just make us feel groggy and irritable, it can actually impair our decision-making ability and even make us unsafe drivers.  For people who frequently need to administer medication or supervise others who might suffer injury if left alone, this can seem like a deadly catch-22.  You know you need sleep, and you’re desperate to get it, but how are you supposed to do that, exactly?  Here’s some ideas.

 

2. Make Sure Your Mattress Isn’t The Problem

If you are managing to get enough hours in bed but you’re struggling to fall and stay asleep, a visit to the best of the Orange County mattress stores might be in order.  Since caregivers in general have a less predictable schedule than others without their responsibilities, it’s important to give yourself the best chance at sleep possible.  This is one instance where you really can’t afford to keep sleeping on a worn-out or uncomfortable mattress.  If you’re not certain whether your mattress needs to be replaced, remember that the recommendation is to replace a mattress every 10 years, or whenever you begin to wake up feeling stiff or sore.

 

3. Practise Impeccable Sleep Hygiene

You’ve heard it all before, but sometimes we get so caught up in caring for others that we forget to extend the same courtesy to ourselves.  So make sure you’re not sabotaging your own sleep:

  • Sleep in a dark, cool room.

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night.  If you can’t because your loved one needs overnight care, consider hiring a home health aide to give you some respite a few nights a week.

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and bright or blue light for 1-2 hours before bed.

  • Make sure to get some gentle exercise during the day.

Remember, while taking the time to meet your own needs might seem impossible or selfish, “you can’t pour from an empty pitcher”.  Ultimately, making sure that you’re getting the sleep you need means that you’ll be able to care for your family members without sidelining yourself.

 

Sources:

Sleep Deprivation In Caregivers – www.conciergecareadvisors.com

Caring For The Caregivers: How To Get More Sleep – www.caregivers.com

 

 

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