Rest Assured: Positive Sleep Habits for Caregivers
Catching those sought-after winks can be easier said than done when it comes to the sleep habits of caregivers to older adults. When the primary concern throughout the day is that your loved one is healthy and cared for to the best of your ability, it can really wear at your own well-being. It is all too common for caregivers to toss and turn because of the worry or stress they have about their loved one.
Habits for Caregivers to Secure Sleep
We know that caregiving for a loved one can be exhausting and the stress from it can negatively affect your sleep habits. Here are some tips to relieve caregiver stress, get some shut eye, and avoid caregiver burnout.
Catch a break so you catch those Zzz’s
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a caregiver seeking assistance or another set of hands to watch over their senior every once in a while. There are ample options out there to gain more carefree time to rest. You just have to be willing to explore different avenues.
One option is to ask about respite volunteer workers at your Local Office of Aging. Typically, respite care is just a short stay in some sort of assisted living community. However, you can also get these kinds of workers to come visit in-home for a short period of time or for just a few hours a week. Therefore, if you’re ever having a case of major burnout, you may be able to get some extra help right to your home so you can finally get some time to care for yourself.
Another option is to explore are adult day cares. Adult day cares allow your senior to use a lot of energy with supervised activities for several hours during the day, which may help to tire them out in the evening so that you can fall asleep with ease. Adult day cares are also an ideal option for seniors with impairments such as dementia or a physical disability because of the professional support that is given to these individuals throughout the day.
Alternatively, if you’re a caregiver who finds that they simply can’t endure the suffering of night after night of restlessness from the demands of their senior, it might be time to consider a nursing home or specialized facility. This is especially beneficial for caregivers that deal with constant nighttime wandering from a loved one that has Alzheimer’s or another cognitive disorder.
Caregiving for Caregivers
Just because you’re caring for someone else now doesn’t mean that your own habits should go unnoticed. Maybe the reason you’re not getting proper rest isn’t due to anything that your senior is doing but maybe it’s your lifestyle habits that just need to be adjusted.
Avoid guzzling those caffeinated drinks in the afternoon and evening. Coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate are some of our favorite things, but they can keep us wired when we should be hitting the hay. Similarly, it is best to avoid eating huge meals right before you plan on going to sleep because that undigested food can keep you up.
It also is advised to make a rule not to use electronics when in bed. This includes your iPhone, your TV, you tablet, and/or your laptop. Not only is the blue light preventing you from getting the feeling of being tired, but it also is distracting you from the main objective, sleep.
Planning for sleep can be helpful for caregivers that are struggling to snag those Zzz’s. Just like mothers do with their babies, try to squeeze naps in during times that your loved one is also resting. Additionally, you should aim to go to bed at the same time each night so that you become accustomed to that schedule.
The final way to help your body fall asleep with ease is by practicing simple meditation through quiet moments of focused breathing. This may not work as well for everyone, but meditation is notorious for incredible relaxation benefits.