We all know that being a caregiver is tough. Besides the physical strain, there are emotional strains that come with caregiving.
And these stresses can lead to difficulty sleeping, thus making the next day even harder. Now you have the same stresses and strains, plus are tired and lethargic from lack of sleep.
So, I am going to take about how you as a caregiver can take the first step towards taking care of yourself…and that’s a good night’s rest.
In order to do that, you might need to get some help with the rigors of caregiving. That’s ok. I understand that which is why I have already written about respite care.
And while there are plenty of tips about getting the right sleep on the internet, like…
- Set a regular bedtime
- Wake up the same time every day
- Don’t drink 2 hours before bed
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine before bed
- Etc, Etc, Etc…
…I want to gear these tips specifically for caregivers, because I understand the unique situation you are facing. So in addition to the above…
You probably have neglected certain aspects of your own health in your role as a caregiver. Maybe you put on a few pounds, maybe you haven’t been eating right. Probably you have been doing both.
Therefore, the time has come to take care of yourself. And that means you need to start exercising again.
But this is not for the sake of vanity. This is so you can recapture your strength and vitality. It will also help you to rest and sleep more comfortably.
If you haven’t been exercising in a while, start with a simple powerwalk around the block. And as you feel stronger, progress to strength training. This can be as simple as body weight exercises like push ups and squats.
I have previously written about the type of quick workouts that caregivers can do here.
But the important thing is that by exerting yourself, you will be more tired at the end of the day, not to mention that the exercise will help you fight the stresses you are currently facing.
Together, this will create a 1-2 punch to help you lose weight, feel better and get more rest.
Be Smart About Napping
Assuming you can, use naps as a way for you to recharge throughout the day. BUT don’t overdo it. You need to be smart about this. You
can’t take a 3-hour nap from 2:00pm to 5:00pm and expect to sleep through the night.
Of course, I understand that caregivers don’t have that type of time but I am just making a point. Nap when your parents are, from 30 to 60 minutes, as a way for you to hit the reset button during the day. You will have more energy during the day and also be in a position where you can still get a good nights sleep.
One of the reasons you don’t get enough sleep is from worrying about your parents wandering or falling in the middle of the night. The wandering is a common occurrence with dementia patients, and all elderly seniors are susceptible to falling. So let’s talk about limiting or eliminating the possibility of wandering, because that will help you to sleep better.
There are wireless anti-wandering systems that you can attach to a door to prevent your parents from wandering off. And these are not expensive. I found one system on Amazon for around $40 so this is a great investment in your peace-of-mind.
So start be getting the help you need to free up a little time in your day, add some exercise plus the inexpensive anti-wandering device and you are taking the right steps towards getting a rewarding nights sleep.