5 Steps to a Better Night's Sleep

17 Comments

Most Americans do not get enough sleep each night. Medical experts say that you should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, but recent statistics revealed that many people are getting less than 5 to 6 hours.

If you are not getting enough sleep, it can have adverse affects on your overall health. For example, it may cause unwanted weight gain, or a constant feeling of sluggishness throughout the day.

People use many excuses for not getting to bed at a decent time. "I have to clean the house, and nighttime is the only time I can get everything done;" or "I love watching late night television." No matter what excuse you are using, your lack of a good night's sleep can be a problem.

Some people, however, bring their stress problems into the bedroom, and that can have disastrous results. Not only will stress affect your sex life, it will also affect your ability to get the rest you need. No matter what has caused stress throughout the day, you must learn to "let it go" in order to get a good night's sleep.

Tips to Enjoy a Restful Night of Slumber

  1. Create a sleep ritual: Make a commitment that your bedroom will be a place of "peace and quiet." Do not use that time and space to discuss finances, problems with the kids, etc. You can read, listen to soft music, or even make love.
  2. Reduce the alcohol: The quality of your sleep can be affected by the amount of alcohol you drink before you go to bed. Plus, if you do drink too much, you will probably rehash the events of the day that caused you stress, and you will never get to sleep.
  3. Keep a notepad by your nightstand: By keeping a notepad and pen handy, you can jot down your worries, and make a pact to deal with them the next day. You can make a conscious decision to get a good night's sleep, and not let your worries rob you of that pleasure.
  4. Sound proof your bedroom: If you live in a noisy neighborhood and the stress of the outside sounds are causing you sleep problems, invest in some soundproofing. For example, heavy drapes, shutters, carpet, wall hangings, etc., all help absorb excess noise.
  5. Be thankful: As you lay your head on the pillow, instead of thinking about all of the problems and stress in your life, try being thankful for everything that you do have. Medical studies have proven that people who are thankful for the blessings in their lives are healthier, happier, and get a good night's sleep.

Re-Published with permission by MySleepCentral.com

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17 Comments

I agree with Cat. This is a fine article, but it doesn't really target the caregiver audience.
It's 5:28 AM and I am not asleep. I should be. I need to be. But I am here in front of the computer reading Agingcare.com. My situation is similar to others here (especially the first poster) in that I have two siblings with their own family health problems. My siblings, however, want to be helpful even if it isn't really enough any more. I am living with my mother in her house as she quickly deteriorates from Alzheimers. She also has had open heart surgery (triple by-pass) and has a pacemaker. My source of income is pretty feeble - I am an adjunct assistant professor with UMUC and teach online classes (when I can get them) for this university. Adjuncts are not paid well compared to other careers and we don't (usually) get benefits. I am also an artist trying to earn a living through my art. This means I have to pay attention to not only creating art but also to the business aspects of being a self-representing artist. I also suffer from severe chronic depression successfully controlled with 5-HTP.

I recognize that I am in a better position than some people and a worse one than others. I am scared of ending up living on the street, of my mother becoming less cognizant, (a foregone conclusion at this point), of my mother dying, (another foregone conclusion given that this is part of the life cycle though not one any of us wants to consider), of being unable to take care of everything I need to take care of, of everything falling apart.

I have never been a good sleeper, needing at least nine hours of sleep (much like Picasso, I suppose) since I was very young and getting only about five to six hours, now, for a long time. And I can't shut my door. I need to be able to wake up instantly should my mother need any kind of help. We do not have the finances to afford paid help and apparently we don't qualify for any state assistance (as far as I can tell).

I wonder if naps would help. At least I could be more effective if I wasn't sleepy when I was awake. Wow. I got a lot more precise than I intended. Additionally, I agree with the person who asks for an article on better sleep geared towards us caregivers who don't have many of those options at hand. Really? "Close the door?" We should ignore the one(s) we are caring for? Should a new mother ignore her hungry infant because it disturbs her sleep? This is the same sort of thing. We are caring for someone or more than one someone who needs our attentiveness. Better would be reprints of articles geared to new mothers.
Hi Sweetie, your story sounds very much like my own, and I'm sure many others of us out there! I also have two siblings, both sisters who live no more than 10 minutes away each. One has a grown child, but that is all. Neither are married, and both have LOTS of money! Like you I am disabled with multiple problems. I have almost no money, but I do live in my dads home with him. It is only he that I care for as my mother passed many years ago. However, he has a multitude of problems including end stage kidney failure (goes to dialysis 3x a week), congestive heart, vascular disease and arrhythmia. Dr.s appts ALL the time which I take him to. I am going 24/7 watching him slowly die. I adore my dad, but sometimes I feel like getting in my car and just driving away forever! I get ZERO support from either of my sisters. As a matter of fact they have loathed me my whole life, and now when we should be united for my father who has been the most wonderful dad three girls could have, they are critical, mean, selfisf, do not offer to help, and if asked say "NO", and do not visit dad. They make me sick, but dwelling on it only makes it worse. Not sleeping is a HUGE factor as well. I also have that problem, and feel like the walking dead during the day. It almost feels like walking through a miserable mudd. Something that helped me a bit was going into the hospital for a few days last summer! When I visited my Regular GP for my annual checkup, I started telling her how I felt and fell absolutely to pieces. She made me go to the hospital because she was worried for my mental health. Well . . . the two selfish ones had no choice but to come and take over, and I spent 5 glorious days sleeping...real sleeping! This was a great psychiatric hospital we have here in R.I. where I'm from called Butler Hospital. Imagine that it gets so bad that a hospital feels like heaven! Do you have a friend that lives a little far from you that you could visit for a week or two? If so, just announce that you are going; DO NOT ASK...say you are going for a rest, period. Tell them when you are leaving and just go. Actually, you can go somewhere close to home and just say you're going away. If they have a crumb of care for your parents they will be forced to do your job while you are gone. Too many of us simply assume that if we are not there everything will fall apart...not true. Also, if your parents have medicare they are entitled to free nursing services even if you are there. Check into all services that are available to you. Dig, dig, dig, services of all types including government services are available. You said you are disabled; call a disability advocate (just call SS and say you would like one), and try to see if there are any options for you. Forget about groups. They usually only meet once or twice a month. We need twice a week help!!!!! Also, do NOT feel guilty or angry because you can't get everything done. If you don't feel like cleaning some days...don't. Cooking, same thing. They aren't going to die if you give them a can of soup, or a frozen dinner. In fact they might like it! My dad likes the frozen mac and cheese, and it takes two minutes in the mic. You are doing Gods work, but if you are exhausted you can't do your best. Take a long walk every day and breathe in the fresh air. Look at the birds, trees or whatever kind of nature is near you even if you live in a city. Birds are everywhere. Nature is more healing than anything in the world. If there are things, small chores etc. that your parents are capable of doing, ask them to do them. Do not just do it all if they can help a little. My dad is very independent even though he's sick. Even though carrying a bag could kill him, at least he has the feeling that he is still useful. Do not forget that these are the people who nurtured you, and it makes them feel good to be part of the life they once provided. They are going to die at some point, and probably sooner than later. My therapist whom I see once a week (another good idea for you), always tells me "Remember this is not forever...it will end, and you will feel so great to know you were the one who cared for and loved them enough to be there." Most importantly though, is know you are NOT alone! We are out here, and there are thousands of us in the exact same boat. You are a child of the Universe, and you will be protected by your angels. Call upon them when things feel hopeless...I promise you they are there. I've met a couple of mine!!!!! LOVE AND LIGHT, a fellow angel