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I care for two disabled parents and currently living with them.

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Insomnia coupled with fatigue, yes. It's an extremely uncomfortable combination - you're desperate to sleep but every time you drift off your eyes pop open. And/or the bed alarm goes off because she's got up to use the commode…

It's very difficult to know whether to do something about it, let alone what, because I do need to be on call during the night 'in case.' Horrible over-imaginings of my mother face down on her bedroom floor with a newly snapped hip while I snooze peacefully on my pillow is probably one of the reasons I'm having trouble, after all. I'm fortunate to get proper respite, the next one coming up in a couple of weeks. Ongoing, everyday solutions - difficult. Do you have any support with your parents' care?
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Zzzquil does the trick for me, the liquid variety. I think because it is liquid it gets into the system so much faster. Wish it would work a little longer though. But at least I usually get five to six hours of sleep. And there is so much dysfunction in my family that causes loss of sleep as well. When I can turn off that garbage, think about my grandchildren instead of the unpleasant sibling stuff that helps too. Oh and either Frasier or The Golden Girls.
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Yep sleep deprived for years now. On top of the stress there was menopause for years, finally a bit better at age 60. But then, a night will pop up. like Saturday where I didn't fall asleep until after 5:45 AM and my household gets up at 7:20...very long days! Please be careful with those OTC sleep aids after age 60, they are finding some cause cognitive problems that cannot be erases. Stuff with dyphenhydramaine like Benedryl can be very bad. Look at your diet and exercise plan. For me no coffee or tea after lunch is important and most recently anything with MSG is a no no.
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Sometimes I laugh before they even say it....poppity pop pop pop! LOL
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BoniChak, all I need to do is watch Niles fawn over Daphne, to get me giggling... or picture Niles and Frasier doing instead of air guitars *air violins* :)
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Frasier is my sleep helper too. I know it by heart and just have to listen. It fills my mind with funny, rather than real life and I drift of to Seattle. Oh, and Valium.
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I have been to so many doctors, so many supplements just to try to get sleep...17 years now. Boy if I could sleep I could handle caring for my parents so much better. I feel so sick and drained and I hate for that to affect my care giving as well as my parents. Dear Lord give me sleep please and thanks to everyone's kind advice.
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Even though I don't do hand-on care for my aging parents [they still live alone independently] I worry myself sick about them because of their advanced age and still living in a large house with a lot of stairs. Thus, a lot of sleepless nights.

Instead of over the counter pills, I turn on the TV and find reruns of my favorite show "Frasier" and for some reason watching that show at 2 in the morning will put me to sleep... it has a calming effect :) Also in the beginning of the night, one of those Lifetime Movies will have a dulling effect.
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Feehan all I can say after reading your profile is you are an angel. It's no wonder you have trouble sleeping.

Do you have any outside help for your parents? Any down time for yourself, where you can turn off the worry and stress for an hour or two at a time? If not, you MUST find a way to get those things in your life. I swear by physical exercise, which I've added in the last six months of my life. It helps me get rid of all of the stress and keep my mind in the moment because I'm playing a competitive sport (which can be very hard to do). And I've only got one non-disabled parent who doesn't live with me. So I can only imagine the stress you're under. I think if you can get more support and take good care of your mental and physical self, you'll be able to sleep more easily. Hugs to you!
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Thanks for this subject. Yeah, I get to tossing and turning trying to process all those very tough emotions. I wonder things like what was life like for our family dog? I remember that she was as traumatized as we kids were from physical abuse and all the screaming and yelling. I try to review the past and understand myself in the present. This takes hours of course! Then, when I finally start to crash, the neighbor comes home from the bar and the dogs start barking. Very hard to wake up.

I tried melatonin and I felt like I had a hangover the next day. The only thing I like is New Agey music and Rescue Remedy (a Bach flower remedy).
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I've become a very light sleeper, that's for sure. Some nights, I get awakened and can't get back to sleep. Those are loooong nights. The next night, though, I'll take a couple of OTC sleep aids. That zonks me out so I can "catch up".

But, yeah, it's all from stress...compounded by not getting sleep...and having to hit the floor running in the morning...the perfect trifecta for complete burnout.

Take a couple OTC sleep aids. If you don't get your sleep? You're useless.
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Insomnia and easy to startle awake are signs of traumatic stress. Mothers of small children experience as well as caregivers of the old or infirm.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you and try to at least get a weekend off. Paying a sitter now may save you from a total breakdown later.
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