Don’t you miss those days when you could “sleep like a baby?” Do you look at your pets with envy the way they curl up on the couch and nod off in less than a minute? If you’re a caregiver you need to do what you can to get a great night’s sleep so that you can perform at your best at work, with your family and with your aging loved ones.
Stress may be a factor in why you’re not sleeping well so here are some things to try that just might help you get your 40-winks:
- Ask your doctor if trying an over the counter sleep aid might help you establish a more productive sleep cycle. After a few nights you might find you’re sleeping better and can stop taking them.
- Warm milk is a tried and true remedy. Milk contains amino acids that, when warmed, may help you fall asleep more easily. If you’re craving a snack with your warm milk, consider a bowl of oatmeal. The oatmeal elevates your blood sugar and this could induce your brain to create melatonin – a natural source of sleep that our bodies produce. A banana, with its magnesium and potassium can also help your muscles relax and this will also help your body create melatonin and serotonin (another relaxation chemical your body produces).
- Even though alcohol has “depressant tendencies” it can also interfere with your body’s ability to fall into deep sleep mode. Caffeine should be avoided at bedtime because that will definitely keep you awake!
Here are five other things to try to get a better night’s sleep:
- Don’t eat right before bedtime (the oatmeal and banana mentioned above should be eaten about an hour before). If you eat right before bedtime your body will be busy digesting your foods and that could keep you awake. Also, eating and then lying down could lead to heartburn.
- If you wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night – and the National Sleep Foundation estimates that 65% of older adults do – you may consider not drinking anything after dinnertime. Or avoid beverages for three hours prior to bedtime and see if that helps.
- If you wake up with a sore jaw, you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep and if that’s the case a trip to the dentist might be in order.
- If you’re a restless sleeper and wake up with the blankets tangled all around your legs it could be from a variety of reasons ranging from a bad mattress to a room that is too warm.
- If your loved ones say that you snore, it could be a serious health issue that you may want to talk with your doctor about. Snoring can interrupt your sleep and your breathing patterns.
Getting a better night’s sleep could take some experimentation with your nighttime routines and making certain your bedroom is cool enough for comfortable sleeping. You will also want to turn off any electronics as they can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day of the week, even on the weekend when you could “sleep in” because this might “train” your body for a better night’s rest.