Caregiving and Insomnia

caregiving and insomnia

As we grow into adulthood, the amount of sleep that we require diminishes.  As newborns, we can require up to 18 hours of sleep per day. At age 5,we need around 10 hours of sleep and at adulthood 7 hours is acceptable. Unfortunately, meeting these requirements is not always easy and with the added responsibility of being a full time caregiver, sleep may not seem like a top priority.

Caring for a loved one is a full time job, and the added effects of insomnia can hamper your ability give. While there are many varied factors that cause sleep disorders, there are several steps that you can take to ensure that you’re getting the best possible chance at a good night’s rest.

  • Establish a regular sleeping schedule. Going to bed at the same time each night and waking in the morning at the same hour can add consistency to your sleeping pattern and curb erratic sleep behavior.

  • Limit caffeine intake, especially after mid-day.  After consuming caffeine, effects can last from 8 to 14 hours.  Consider switching to decaf coffee or tea.

  • Watching TV, and looking at other devices such as cellphones, computer screens immediately before bed can hamper your ability to fall asleep.

  • Regular exercise can work wonders for maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Not only does exercise promote physical and mental health, it also increases the need for the restoration that occurs during sleep. Exercise does not need to be strenuous to be effective, walking and water aerobics are great low impact activities that should be considered.

  • Check your medications to see if side effects include difficulty falling asleep or inability to stay asleep. If so, you may want to consider changing medications to one that does not include these side effects.

  • Turn cellphones (and other electronic devices) to silent mode while you are  sleeping. Disturbances can upset the circadian rhythm and affect future sleep cycles for days to come.

  • Remember to remain positive if you are struggling with a consistent sleep schedule. Being negative or pushing to hard can cause regression and possibly make matters worse.

The best way to care for your loved one is to start by caring for yourself and ensure that you get proper amounts of sleep each night. We hope these tips may be of service in helping you to assist your loved one and make your caregiving journey a bit easier. We want you to know we are here to assist you and your loved one with any of the challenges that you may be facing in your caregiving journey.