Caregiver Confessions: When You're Sleeping Poorly -- Or Not at All

Firsthand advice from a caregiver who's been there
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Sleep problems are rampant among caregivers -- although they often try to hide this fact from family members and the person they're caring for, out of misplaced worry that it's selfish to complain.

Caregivers also get embarrassed about lack of sleep for another reason: "I felt like not being able to sleep well was just another thing I was failing at," says TV-radio personality Leeza Gibbons, founder of the Leeza's Place communities for caregivers.

Watch Leeza's advice on coping with sleep deprivation.


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Here are more tips on getting better sleep:

Recognize that you're not in a sleep-supportive situation. Caregivers often fail to realize how much tension and anxiety builds up during the day. The body holds this stress and adds it to whatever issues your loved one has that may also be upending your odds of a good night's rest.

Target the tension. Spend time in the morning and, especially, at night, simply sitting still and breathing deeply. A few slow inhalations and exhalations will literally slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, making your body more sleep-ready.

Keep moving through the day. There's a strong association between getting exercise by day and sleeping better at night. Even two short walks of five to ten minutes each can improve your ability to rest. Can't get out of the house? Try walking stairs.

Note the diet-sleep connection. Did you know that food cravings for salty, fatty, high-carb snacks are linked to poor sleep?

See also:

When You're Feeling Guilt

When You Don't Feel Appreciated

When You're Sleeping Poorly

When You're in Over Your Head

When You Lose Your Temper

Family Is Being Torn Apart

When You're Just Not Eating Right

When You Rarely See Friends

When You Resent Being a Caregiver

When No One Will Help

Feeling Anticipatory Grief

After Caregiving Ends

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio