It’s no secret that home caregivers have a ton of responsibilities — and that getting all that work done can be exhausting. No one deserves a good night’s sleep more than home caregivers. Yet unfortunately, they often have a hard time falling or staying asleep.
Home caregivers who find that sleep often eludes them may benefit from the following tips:
- Don’t go to bed mad. Studies have shown that people who are feeling angry when they go to bed have a much harder time falling asleep — and that when they do get to sleep, they sleep more restlessly. Not only does focusing on the anger keep the mind from relaxing into sleep, it also triggers an increase in cardiovascular activity that keeps sleep away. Try to spend time before going to bed releasing as much anger as possible through meditation, deep breathing, venting frustration to a friend, etc.
- Ditch the electronics. The blue light that comes from the various screens in people’s lives — computers, television sets, phones, etc., — impacts melatonin production, which is important for sleep. Try to avoid any blue light exposure for at least a half hour before heading to bed.
- Keep it dark. Melatonin can also be affected by even small amounts of light, such as a night light. Clearly, if a light is needed for safety while getting up in the middle of the night, use it. But the bedroom should be kept as dark as is practically possible.
- Find relaxation triggers. Everyone has different things that can help them relax and make them more receptive to sleep. For example, some find a warm bath relaxing, while others may enjoy reading a book or being in a room with pleasantly scented candles. Home caregivers should figure out what works for them and incorporate relaxing activities regularly into their pre-bedtime routine.
- Drown out the noise. Ideally, the bedroom should be totally quiet, but that’s not always possible. “White noise” machines can be a good way to create a soothing aura of sound that drowns out the more distracting noises.
Getting a good night’s sleep helps home caregivers feel and perform better — and that helps both them and their patients.