Everyone knows what it’s like to operate on little sleep. Your mind feels groggy and out of sorts and even the simplest tasks can present huge complications. As a caregiver, sleep is often a casualty of the occupation. With trying to look after both your parents and children, in addition to maintaining a day job, it’s a wonder you even find time to rest your head on your pillow at night. But what about your care recipient? With seemingly little on their agenda each day, you would think sleep would come naturally to them. However, a growing number of seniors today (up to 30%!) experience sleep disorders in the form of infrequent sleep patterns, sleep apnea and waking up too early, among other disorders.
A happy, healthy and well-rested loved one is much more pleasant to care for than the alternative, especially when you yourself aren’t so well-rested. As a caregiver, there are certain measures you can take to help your loved one get more sleep, which can aid in fixing their sleep cycle. Your loved one may be missing out on his or her necessary sleep patterns due to chronic pain, previous illness, medication, lifestyle changes, anxiety or depression. Regardless of the cause, if your loved one is experiencing problems with sleeping, chances are you will be too when your care recipient wakes up at odd hours, or needs assistance in the middle of the night due to restlessness. When dealing with your loved one’s insomnia, you may want to consider the following:
- Examine your loved one’s medications for possible sleep-related side effects and consult with their doctor to see if there is a medication they can take in its place.
- Establish a routine eating schedule. By limiting the food or drinks your care recipient consumes after a certain time, you may be able to curb late night bathroom breaks.
- Before settling down for the night, suggest your loved one read a book or magazine instead of watching televisionMake sure your loved one participates in physical activity during the day, like going for a short walk, stretching, lifting light weights, or completing balance exercises.
- Establish a sleep schedule so your loved one goes to bed and wakes up at the same time every day.
- Limit their intake of caffeine before they go to bed.
- Make the room as conducive to sleep as possible by ensuring the room is dark, and there are no distractions like phones or noisy clocks.
- If your loved one continues to struggle with staying up at night, remain supportive and helpful.
- Do not rely on temporary over-the-counter sleeping aids to remedy the problem. They will only lead to short-term gains, but as the body builds up resistance, sleeping problems may worsen.
Sleep is vital to every aspect of your loved one’s health. By examining their sleep-related difficulties, you will also be doing yourself a huge favor. A few minor changes could amount to a world of difference.
Also read The Importance of Sleep