How did you sleep last night? Sleep is a beautiful thing, but most family caregivers don’t sleep all that well at night for lots of excellent reasons. What keeps you awake? Do you have to get up to assist your loved one? Are you worried about issues like money, other family obligations, or even your personal health? Whatever the cause(s), it’s critically important that you get enough sleep every night to keep yourself healthy.
Sleep has many benefits to offer. Most people need somewhere between six and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep time to feel truly rested. Good sleep helps improve your memory and ability to focus. Slumber enhances your ability to solve complex problems, and it even helps with weight management. Betsy and I both know from personal experience what it’s like to fight the battle of the bulge!
There are several strategies you can employ to get a better night’s sleep. First, if you drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, try to reduce or eliminate these from your diet. If this seems too extreme, maybe you can avoid caffeine after lunch. Establish a routine before bedtime that lets your body and mind know it’s time to rest. Make your room a few degrees cooler if possible or purchase a fan if cooling the entire house would make your loved one too cold at night. A cool, dark room is most conducive to restful sleep. If pets disturb your sleep, find a way to relocate their sleeping area so you can rest undisturbed. Finally, try to get some exercise each day and avoid alcohol, as it can be more disruptive to good sleep through the night.
If caregiving tasks weigh upon your mind at night, keep a notepad next to the bed and jot down what troubles you. Then give it to Jesus and rest in the assurance that He will help you with whatever you face. If necessary, you can take up the list the next morning and work on solutions to address matters that kept you awake the previous night. For other suggestions on how to sleep better, click here.
Finally, remember that you are not alone. Your support network needs to know that you are struggling and not sleeping well. Perhaps others can pitch in and offer respite care to give you a night off from time to time, or you can hire a professional agency to provide overnight care so you can relax and rest in the assurance that your loved one receives the care they need.
Betsy and I hope you’ll join us this week at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about the beauty of better sleep.