Being a caregiver is a rewarding and often challenging position. It can be very stressful and that can keep you from getting a proper night’s sleep. Sleep is needed to enable us to function during the day.
As a caregiver, sleep is essential for you as you need to be aware and alert when caring for someone else. The last thing you need is to make a mistake where someone gets harmed or injured.
Lack of sleep can lead to more serious concerns, like depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and elevated levels of stress. So how do you make sure you get the rest you need?
6 Ways to Fight Caregiver Sleep Deprivation
You might not think there is nothing to be done about your lack of sleep, short of medication. But there are things you can do to ensure you get a full night’s sleep and feel refreshed.
1. Watch Your Diet
Avoid fast food or snacks that are full of sodium, sugar, and empty calories. While it may be difficult for you to get a proper meal during your busy day, snack on fresh fruit, nuts, and other healthy, filling options.
Don’t eat a lot before you go to sleep. It makes it harder to digest and can make sleeping awkward and nearly impossible. Eat larger meals earlier in the day, but not too much as it can bog you down.
2. Get Exercise
Getting a little exercise is a great way to help keep your stress levels down and help you sleep better. Go for a brisk walk in the morning and then maybe after your evening meal.
Getting your heart rate up, your circulation moving, and your mind cleared can make a big difference not only in how much better you will sleep, but also your mental health, as well.
3. Avoid Caffeine
A strong cup of coffee might be just the thing to get you going in the morning, but you shouldn’t overdo it. Avoid anything with caffeine in it in the afternoon and evening.
Tea, coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks can help keep you awake when you don’t want to. Stick to herbal teas, water, juice, and avoid canned pop, as it can be loaded with sugar and caffeine.
4. Set a Bedtime
Setting a regular bedtime will become habit-forming. Once you have that in place, you can start preparing for bed each night. This can be making your lunch for the next day, turning off all your screens and devices, and taking a warm bath to relax.
Try to be ready for bed by the set time and don’t get up unless you need the washroom. Try to get up at the same time, as well, as this will become part of your regular routine.
5. Improve Your Sleeping Surroundings
Making your bedroom ideal for sleeping is a great place to start for a better sleep. Your bedroom should be dark and quiet. Cover up the windows if you get outside light coming in, and keep lights and screens off.
Let other people living in the home know you need your sleep and to keep the noise to a minimum during your rest time. As for outside noise, if you live in a noisy area, you may need to pad the windows or move your bed away from the windows.
Stretching before bed is a great way to loosen up your tight muscles and relieve stress. Yoga-like exercises are great for getting rid of the tight shoulders and neck muscles and can help you relax much more easily. Do these in a warm area before bed. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to ease the stress and tension from your body can also relieve the tension from your mind. Stress and worry make sleeping very difficult and restless.
Prioritize Your Own Health
Think about it this way: if you’re sleep-deprived, malnourished, and constantly stressed, how effective can you really be as a caregiver? By prioritizing your own health, you’ll have more energy, mental clarity, and emotional resilience to devote to your caregiving responsibilities. This means that you’ll be better equipped to handle any challenges that arise and provide high-quality care to your loved one.