Not Another Sleepless Night
By Jennifer Buckley

 

A typical day for a caregiver might include on-the-job stress in the morning, a rush to a doctor�s appointment for your mother at lunchtime and battling bottle necked traffic in the evening only to come home and figure out what to cook everyone for dinner. By this time, your muscles feel achy and you crave the comfort and security of your bed, but when it�s time to turn in, once again you can�t fall asleep. Some caregivers exert enough energy during the day to power a small nuclear submarine, but sleep deprivation is a common problem among a large percentage of caregivers.

You find yourself balancing your checkbook mentally, wondering if your boss actually meant what he said and if the planet is really going to run out of clean drinking water. All the traditional sleep techniques have been exhausted: you drank warm milk, ate a bedtime snack, avoided caffeine and took a hot bath. You may have even tried counting those white puffy ranch animals, but to no avail--another sleepless night.

If common sleep inducing measures don�t work for you, it�s time to try some unconventional methods. Remember, as with all new ideas, keep an open mind.  After all, the name of the game is falling asleep.

  1. March of the toy soldiers.  Fill your bathtub ankle deep with cool water and march around in it for a few minutes. It�s a proven form of hydrotherapy for sleeplessness.

  1. A room with a view.  Visualize something peaceful like dancing butterflies.

  1. Time to exercise.  If you can�t sleep, tell yourself you have to get up and go running, you�ll be asleep in no time.

  1. Herbal nation.  Try one of the many herbal teas or capsules like Kava Kava or St. John�s Wart; they could be a safe and effective alternative to traditional sleeping pills.

  1. You are a poet and you didn�t even know it.  Start writing a well-constructed poem about life in general, it is a great way to re-focus negative thoughts.

  1. Maid-service for a night. Get out of bed and remake it with all the military guidelines in effect: hospital corners, exact and even folds and the tightness to make a quarter bounce. Then get back in bed and your mind will feel less chaotic.

  1. Watch �em wiggle. Wiggle your toes- keep wiggling, keep wiggling, keep wiggling����zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  1. Listen to this.  Many stores today sell tapes, records and CD�s with the sounds of nature like water flowing, rain falling and ocean waves rolling onto shore. It�s a form of audio therapy and it tends to relax you.

Just give at least one of these non-traditional ideas a try.  The worst thing that could happen is that you might actually get more than three hours of sleep tonight. You are a caregiver and the last thing you need is to fight with your pillow another night. If nothing seems to be working for you, consider seeing a doctor. It could be more than just anxious thoughts keeping you from snoozing. Good luck and sweet dreams.

     

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