Make sure you’re taking time to rest

Elderly woman sleeping

It can be easy to overlook your own needs when you’re caring for someone else. One of the first things you may overlook is getting a full night’s sleep. If you’re not rested, it can lead to things like forgetfulness which can cause issues for yourself and your loved one. When you’re helping to care for another, you may face many different challenges during the day, so it’s important to take care of yourself. Sleeping well at night can help keep you alert during the day, learn and remember things and can help keep you from getting sick. When you don’t sleep well, your body can get stressed. Even worse, long-term sleep loss can increase your risk of serious diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stroke. It can be difficult to take care of someone else if you’re not taking care of yourself!

You may experience some of the following if you don’t get enough sleep regularly:

  • Confusion
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration

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. Asking your doctor about your sleeping habits can help him or her understand if you may need to go to a sleep specialist to see if you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or insomnia, which may require therapies like a PAP machine or prescription sleep medicine. Going over your prescriptions and any over-the-counter (OTC) medicines you may take with your doctor may help you find out if they could have a bad effect on your sleep.

Tips for better sleep
There are things you can try to take control of your sleep. Better sleep habits can help you get to 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 eyeshades.
  • Choose a comfortable mattress and use your bed only for sleep. Keep your pillow clean to reduce allergy-causing dust and spores.