The Family Caregiver Alliance says that studies show people who are caregivers are more likely to have sleep problems than other people, especially those who care for seniors with dementia. In fact, about 70 percent of caregivers to older adults with dementia report having sleep problems. 60 percent say they sleep less than 7 hours per night. Up to 20 percent say they use alcohol or medications to sleep. Even if they do fall asleep, 40 percent of caregivers to dementia patients are awakened during the night by the older adult.
The problem with not getting enough sleep isn’t just being tired. Lack of sleep can also lead to mental health problems, like depression. In addition, not getting enough sleep can make the job of being a caregiver tougher. Caregivers who are tired may be irritable and more likely to snap at the older adult. So, what can you do to get more sleep? Perhaps the tips below will help.
Make Your Sleep Space a Sanctuary
If at all possible, don’t sleep in the same room as the person you are caring for. Turn the place where you sleep into your own personal sanctuary. Leave anything that reminds you of caregiver duties, like paperwork and books about the senior’s condition, outside the room. Keep the room cozy, dark, quiet, and cool to help you sleep better. If you need to be able to hear the senior through the night, use a baby monitor.
Assign an “Anxious Hour”
One of the things that can keep caregivers from getting to sleep is that they lie in bed and worry about things, like the senior’s health, paying medical bills, and the length of their “to do” list. Instead of worrying at night, set an hour during the day to be your “anxious hour.” Use that time to write down the things you need to do and any concerns you have. When the hour is up, put the paper into a drawer and leave it there until the next morning. This can help you to get your worries out before bedtime, making it easier for you to go to sleep.
Use Good Bedtime Habits
Having a nightly routine around bedtime can make it easier for you to fall asleep. A routine helps to tell your body that it’s time to go to sleep. Keep your bedtime at the same time each night. Before bed, switch to relaxing activities, like reading a book, doing gentle stretches, or listening to quiet music.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Fishkill, NY please contact the caring staff at JANCARE Private Health Services, Inc. today at (845) 896-5300.