For a family caregiver, a good night’s sleep may seem like an impossible dream. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, as it can help you stay alert and energized during a long day of caregiving. Here are a few effective strategies for getting better sleep.
Avoid Stimulants After Dinner
Caregivers don’t always abide by a nine to five schedule. You may have to provide care until your senior loved one falls asleep at night. To get through these long days, you may turn to caffeine or energy boosters. While this is fine in the mornings, you should avoid caffeine four hours before going to bed.
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Resist Afternoon Naps
For sleep-deprived caregivers, an afternoon nap may seem tempting. Take morning naps instead of afternoon naps because afternoon naps decrease sleep drive, tricking the body into thinking it’s more rested than it really is. Try to hold out until bedtime. If you do take naps, they should be limited to 15 to 20 minutes, which provides an extra burst of energy without ruining your nightly sleep.
Modify Light Exposure
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone produced by the body. When it’s light out, melatonin production is low, and when it’s dark, melatonin production goes into overdrive. If you spend too much time indoors without access to natural light, your body’s melatonin production cycle may be impaired, which could affect the circadian rhythm. To counteract these effects, try to get some sunlight every morning and take every opportunity to spend a few minutes outdoors. Grab a few minutes between doctor’s appointments to sit on a park bench or exercise outside. These minor changes can rectify circadian rhythm issues, helping you achieve more restful sleep.
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Exercise burns calories and boosts physical health, and it also has notable sleep benefits. Engaging in physical activity increases the length of deep sleep cycles. Because exercise boosts energy levels, you shouldn’t exercise too close to bedtime. Morning activity is best, as it has a stimulating effect and may leave you feeling sleepy by bedtime.
Modify the Dinner Menu
What we eat can affect how we eat, which is especially true of dinner. Try eating light dinners, as heavy foods can be difficult to digest. You should also avoid eating dinner close to bedtime and limit your late-night snacking habits.
Save the Bedroom for Sleep
If you are using your bedroom for work, hobbies, and entertainment, it may hinder sleep. The bedroom should be dark, cool, and quiet. To block light, use curtains, shades, or eye masks. You should also set the bedroom to a comfortable sleeping temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if you need a break from your caregiving duties to relax, unwind, and recharge. Find out how a Jefferson County, Colorado, caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping. To learn about our professional in-home care services and how they can benefit your aging loved one, call us at (303) 987-5992 today.