Make sure you’re taking time to rest

A senior and his caregiver talk in a kitchen.

It can be easy to overlook your own needs when you’re caring for someone else. One of the first things you might overlook is getting a full night’s sleep.

Lack of sleep may harm your health

Sleeping well at night can help you stay alert during the day, learn and remember things and help keep you healthy. However, if you’re not rested, it can cause issues for yourself and your loved one. When you don’t sleep well, your body can get stressed. You may experience some of the following:

  • Confusion
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Increased risk of getting sick
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration

Tips for better sleep

There are things you can try to take control of your sleep. Better sleep habits can help you have less drowsy mornings:

  • Don’t watch TV an hour before bedtime or use smartphones or tablets in bed. Try reading a relaxing book instead.
  • Get darker window treatments or consider wearing soft eye mask.
  • Select a comfortable mattress and use your bed only for sleep. Keep your pillow clean to reduce allergy-causing dust and spores.

Talk to your doctor

You’ll want to talk to your doctor about these signs, any other sleep problems you may be having and what your sleep habits are like. Discussing your sleep habits with your doctor can help him or her determine whether you should visit a specialist to see if you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or insomnia. This may require therapies like a positive airway pressure (PAP) machine or prescription sleep medicine.

Go over your prescriptions and any over-the-counter medicines you take with your doctor. This may help you find out if they are having a negative effect on your ability to sleep.