Caregivers need their sleep too.

We often forget to take care of ourselves when we are trying to take care of our loved ones who seem to need it more. Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s can be extremely time consuming, but you have to make time for you. One of the most important parts of your health is making sure that you are getting enough sleep. Experts recommend that the ideal amount of sleep is 7-9 hours. Studies show that there are 65 million families serving as caregivers and 87% run the health risks that come along with insomnia. Insomnia is caused by the inability to relax our minds and bodies in order to fall asleep or achieve restful sleep. Below, we’ve noted some helpful tips to help you get the sleep that you need:

  1. Only use your bedroom for the functions of a bedroom. Your mind should associate this room with sleep. Try to keep your electronic device use to other parts of the house.
  2. If you are already trying to fall asleep but keep tossing and turning, try drinking tea (green and chamomile tea are the most commonly recommended for sleep purposes). You can also use lavender which helps with relaxation.
  3. Also, if you are still tossing and turning, get up and leave the room for a bit. Try something like reading a book or an activity that will make you sleepy (avoid screens because they will only keep you awake). When you begin to feel tired, go back to your bed.
  4. Create a good environment for sleep. Make sure that your room is dark, quiet and cool.
  5. Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule for when you fall asleep and wake up (this includes weekends). Bodies have internal clocks called circadian rhythms and this can help the most in your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep so you feel refreshed in the morning.
  6. Try not to eat at least two hours before you plan on going to sleep. More importantly, avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking. All of these can cause significant problems with falling asleep.