Caring for an elderly loved one can be a stressful proposition even under the best circumstances. Caregivers balance a demanding array of financial, medical, and emotional responsibilities, and this devotion often comes at the price of sound sleep. If you provide care for your loved one and are experiencing insomnia, there are several steps you can take to promote productive sleep and manage stress.
Follow Your Own Sleep Rituals
One of the most effective ways to combat insomnia is by establishing sleep rituals. Not only should you follow a bedtime routine, but you should also think about ways to prepare yourself mentally and physically for bedtime as it approaches. In the hour before bedtime, put away your electronic devices, change into your pajamas, and avoid stimulants such as caffeine or nicotine. Creating these rituals is a way of signaling to your body and mind that it’s time for sleep.
Hiring a professional caregiver can allow you to take a break from your caregiving duties to focus on your health and wellbeing. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Oklahoma City, OK, Lifestar Home Care can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.
Create a Sleep Environment that Works on Your Senses
Your sleep environment should contribute to a peaceful, calm atmosphere that promotes rest and recovery. One way to think about your sleep environment is by thinking in terms of your senses. It may seem like a small step, but selecting new cozy bedding can help your body relax in the bed itself. Consider using soothing, cool colors in your bedroom as a visual signal that the space is for rest and peace. If you find that total silence helps you sleep, consider soundproofing the room. Alternatively, white noise machines let you experiment with different sleep-inducing sounds. You can even appeal to your sense of smell by misting your bedding with lavender or chamomile. In a pinch, you can soak a cotton ball in one of these essential oils and leave it on your nightstand.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality in-home care, Lifestar Home Care can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.
Make Time for Reflection during the Day
Many caregivers experience insomnia because their minds are racing at the time their bodies crave sleep most. To combat this particular issue, set aside some time during the day to reflect on the things causing you stress and acknowledge your feelings about the stressors. At bedtime, it may be helpful to use a brief guided meditation as preparation for sleep. One effective nighttime meditation is a controlled reflection on the day’s events—while resting comfortably and breathing deeply, you simply scan the day’s events in your mind from start to finish in fast-forward mode, ending with the visualization of yourself sleeping peacefully.
While these techniques can be helpful in addressing many causes of caregiver insomnia, you should nevertheless see a doctor to rule out a medical cause if your insomnia persists or worsens over time. As with other elements of caregiver health, it’s important to maintain focus on your own health rather than devoting all of your energy to caring for your loved one. With some daily reflection and scheduling, you may eventually find it easier to create the mental space you need for your own wellbeing.
One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Oklahoma City families can turn to Lifestar Home Care for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. For reliable in-home care services, contact us at (405) 288-9275 today.