What Can I Do About My Own Disturbed Sleep?

Caregiver Addressing Disturbed Sleep with Sunlight in Room

Here are some tips that other people have found helpful for not getting enough sleep:

  • Establish a sleep routine by going to bed and getting up at the same time.
  • Schedule your sleep schedule around your loved one’s sleep schedule, if possible. If they take a nap during the day, take a short nap at the same time.
  • Use your bed for sleeping only.
  • Maintain a quiet, comfortable and consistent bedroom temperature.
  • Do not eat heavy or large meals or do strenuous activity closer than four hours before going to bed.
  • If you are hungry, try snacks at bedtime with warm milk.
  • Try a radio, fan, or mood music to filter out noises (e.g., nature sounds, ocean, etc.).
  • Get some form of exercise every day, such as walking.
  • If sleep medications are prescribed, follow directions carefully.
  • Try taking a warm bath an hour before going to bed.
  • Try to deal with problems or worries during the day, before going to bed.
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after 3 p.m., such as soft drinks, hot cocoa, tea or coffee.
  • Practice relaxation, meditation, or guided imagery.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Avoid tobacco products altogether. Nicotine is a stimulant.
  • If you can find someone to give you a backrub or foot massage to relax, go for it.

Here are some tips for sleeping too much (more than 12 hours per day):

  • Get some exercise every day, such as walking.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Use distraction (hobbies or other activities that take your mind off caregiving) to avoid boredom.
  • Set your alarm to get up at the same time every morning, caregiving permitting.
  • Avoid sweets and foods high in sugar.
  • Avoid foods high in tryptophan.
  • Avoid dairy products.