Well Being

You the caregiver need to kick back (when you can) and get in touch with life. Do it! (Guilt free.)

Tips to Help You Get Enough Sleep

Tips to Help You Get Enough Sleep

by SHERRI SNELLING

For many of the nation’s 65 million family caregivers, sleep is an elusive luxury.

In fact, a National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) study on caregiver health risks found 87 percent of those caregivers surveyed suffered from insomnia.

If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.

If you suffer from insomnia, you are at risk for numerous health issues. “If you accumulate too much sleep debt, your body will crash.” According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), more than 50 percent of people older than age 65 suffer sleep disorders that ultimately shorten their lives. This deprivation of sleep is called sleep debt.

In an interview with WebMD, Susan Zafarlotfi, Ph.D., clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, said, “Sleep debt is like credit card debt. If you keep accumulating credit card debt, you will pay high interest rates or your account will be shut down until you pay it all off.”

Insomnia typically is a function of not being able to relax our minds and our bodies.

To get some sleep, try these tips from Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein, associate physician, Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard University:

1. Create a sleep-inducing environment: a dark, quiet, comfortable and cool room.

2. Do not use your bedroom for anything other than sleep or sex. No television, no laptops.

3. Make sure you do not eat at least two to three hours before bedtime, and avoid caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime. Note that smoking can cause trouble sleeping.

4. If you are tossing and turning at night and you cannot get those eyes closed, try drinking green or chamomile tea before bed or put a lavender pillow near your head to aid relaxation.

5. Create consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends. Our bodies have internal clocks called circadian rhythms that synchronize our active and rest states with biochemical reactions in our bodies. Circadian rhythms are based on light/dark cycles, with light having the most impact on our ability to get to and stay in restorative sleep.

For caregivers, it is time to awaken to the fact that sleep may be your best medicine.  Sleep well.

Excerpted from A Cast of Caregivers – Celebrity Stories to Help You Prepare to Care by Sherri Snelling (Balboa Press).



You might also enjoy:

Thanksgiving Prayer for Caregivers

Thank you for loving me enough to take care of me. Thank you for the times your meal is cold, because…

The Caregiver Benefits of Silence and Solitude

This morning, I have no intention of getting dressed. I have a cold and sore throat, but I'm not complaining,…

Listen to Dancing Queen ... live a little

“You need to do something fun,” a friend said. “I’m too tired to think of something fun,”…

Take that 20-minute break and de-stress

"That 20-minute walk in the fresh air with my best friend was exactly what I needed right now."  …

comments powered by Disqus