The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Reclaiming Rest: Prioritizing Sleep as Essential Self-Care for Caregivers

March 19, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 205
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Reclaiming Rest: Prioritizing Sleep as Essential Self-Care for Caregivers
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Have you ever found yourself staring at the ceiling at 2 AM, worrying about a loved one you care for, instead of sleeping? You're not alone; an overwhelming majority of caregivers experience sleep disturbances, a topic we're addressing head-on in today's heart-to-heart on The Caregiver Cup Podcast. With sleep being as fundamental to health as diet and exercise, we certainly can't afford to keep ignoring it—especially when the stakes involve our capacity to care for others and ourselves. 

As a former hospice caregiver, I've personally felt the brain fog and emotional turmoil that come from sleep deprivation. This episode is a candid exploration of the havoc a lack of sleep wreaks on our mental health, with anxiety and depression often creeping in. But it's not all grim; I'm offering a lifeline in the form of practical solutions, like the four, three, two, one method—a structured approach to easing into a restful night. You'll find out how simple changes to your evening and morning routines can dramatically shift your sleep quality, setting you up for more peaceful nights and energized mornings. 

Let's face it, creating a sanctuary for sleep isn't just about fancy pillows and blackout curtains; it's about a holistic approach to winding down, embracing natural light, and establishing rituals that signal to our bodies that it's time to rest. We'll dissect the science and the strategies, from curbing the blue light menace to rethinking that morning coffee ritual. So curl up with your favorite blanket and join us on a journey to reclaim your nights, as we implore you to prioritize sleep as an ultimate act of self-care. Because a well-rested caregiver is a beacon of hope and strength for those who depend on us the most.

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Speaker 1:

How are you sleeping, my friend? Is sleep, or the lack of sleep, affecting your energy? How is your lack of sleep affecting your mood? When you don't get a good night's sleep, what about your health? Are you feeling exhausted during the day, maybe losing your focus, or you just feel off? Well, my friend, in today's episode we're talking all about sleep, the importance of sleep, why getting a good night's sleep is a necessity, why caregivers don't get enough sleep, unfortunately. What are the risks of lack of sleep and how to get quality sleep as a caregiver.

Speaker 1:

["cup Podcast"]. Welcome, my friend, to another episode of the Caregiver Cup Podcast. It's episode 205, and I'm Kathy. I've talked about sleep before in other episodes, maybe through practices and stuff, but I've never dedicated an entire episode to the importance of sleep. I don't know why, but today we are.

Speaker 1:

Last Saturday, which was March 16th, was World Sleep Day, which I thought was a good way to go ahead and incorporate this into a podcast episode. And I wanna start out with some shocking facts that there's three of them that I did some research on. According to the National Library of Medicine, they had stated 76% of caregivers report poor quality sleep. I'm sure you're saying yep, agree with that and relate to that, especially in those caregiving seasons that are challenging. Well, I went even further, and from perspectives in psychiatric care, they talked about dementia caregivers and they had said they show up to. The studies have shown I mean to that 91.7% of dementia caregivers experience poor quality sleep. Yeah, because they're probably like taking care of their parents or worried about their well-being or getting up with them at night, and I think that applies to anybody that has a loved one or a season that is more challenging, like hospice care as well. I couldn't find a stat on hospice care and I'm sure there's something out there too.

Speaker 1:

Now, healthyagingorg also shared sleep disturbances in caregivers have been associated with depression, anxiety and fatigue, and I would bet any money the secondary emotions play a role into it as well, like stress, worry, frustrations, because if you think about when you don't get a good night's sleep, there are things in our mindset that deter us from getting a good night's sleep. That's why today I wanna talk about first piece here is what causes that lack of sleep for us as caregivers, and I'm gonna start out by using the anxiety and depression that was used in that stat from healthyagingorg and how it can interfere with sleep. You know those nights when you are tired but you lay in bed and your mind won't stop racing. Now there are some sleep doctors to say that you need to get up and really figure out how to release that. But yeah, we've all been in bed where your mind is racing. You're so exhausted but you can't sleep.

Speaker 1:

Both anxiety and depression can lead to those racing thoughts, included that, thoughts like worries, and then the rumination happens, making it challenging to quiet your mind and fall asleep. If you have somewhere to go the following day, or something's new and different that you're just, I think about little kids going to school on that first day of school that well, that night before they can't fall asleep, or Christmas Eve or whatever it would be. The same happens for us as caregivers. You can also have frequent awakenings by heightened arousal levels in your mind, like nightmares or intrusive thoughts. There are so many nights that I wake up that I am panicked or I can't finish something. And then I wake up from this nightmare and I'm like I didn't solve the problem. So why am I dreaming this? Or what about those early morning awakenings and you can't fall back to sleep? You roll over and you look at your watch or your alarm clock or whatever it would be, and it's like two in the morning or three in the morning and you're like, oh my gosh, I've only slept a few hours and now I can't fall back to sleep. These are just to name a few. I'm gonna pause here a minute and go stop my dogs from barking.

Speaker 1:

Another cause is that causes lack of sleep is stress and the challenges that can cause really insufficient sleep, because you feel overwhelmed and think about those long-term responsibilities. I even think about even going further with this is when there is a challenging issue with Dennis, like, for example, he was having an allergic reaction to the Ketruda drug or a side effect. I was corrected many times Don't say allergic reaction, kathy, it's a side effect, I mean a side effect, and I was googling that before bed. Well, that's the worst thing you can do, because now you're activating your brain again and it's it's wanting to figure it out, or at least mind us. But yeah, you're just rehashing the day before or you're rehashing what the future looks like. You're thinking through the what ifs, and that can cause you insufficient sleep as well.

Speaker 1:

Then there are there is the reality of the situation. Maybe you are on watch and can't sleep sound. Maybe your loved one has dementia, or you and they can't. There's an opportunity where they can wander in the middle of the night or they might get up, or another one is you're alongside of your loved one in the hospital and you're sleeping alongside of them. Whatever it would be, there are opportunities where you're going to try to get some Z's, but you know that you have to have one ear open and so you don't sleep sound.

Speaker 1:

The example that comes to my mind is when Dennis had a stem cell transplant and the housing that we were in. They had two beds in their room and it was like a hotel room, kind of similar to it, and we slept alongside of each other in the room. Well, there was one night where he had severe diarrhea and he was up all night long with that and he couldn't. I couldn't sleep because obviously he's getting up and down. We put him closest to the bathroom, but it's still. He's got to turn the lights on so he doesn't fall. And then there would be other nights where he had his sleep apnea machine on or he couldn't wear it because of the lack of breathing or whatever, and I would hear him in the middle of the nights, in the middle of the night, and so there are going to be times where you can't Sleeping with my brother and sister alongside of my mom's bed while she was in hospice, you know, especially those last couple nights, we wanted to all be together and so we had a slumber party in her bedroom. Well, you can't really sleep sound because you're, you know you, you're hearing your mom. If she do take up, my mom would take a breath or or moan. Well then, right away, I'm checking to make sure. Does she need more pain medication? So you don't get those nights sleep. And that's the reality of our situation.

Speaker 1:

Another cause that's very common in itself induced, meaning that we can control it. And because we didn't control it, we're keeping yourself awake. How many of you've had caffeine before you went to bed? As I'm drinking my cup of coffee this morning, as I'm recording it, you have caffeine, meaning you're having your drink. You could have a piece of chocolate, you could. You know, whatever it would be there's caffeination. Or if there's stimulus in whatever the food or drink you're eating, that's keeping your, your mind and body at a higher rate. Or you eat too late or eat too much before you go to bed and you're not allowing your digestive system to process and so your body is working in the middle of the night and trying to process the food, causing your, your mind, to go ahead and work harder to help your body process the food.

Speaker 1:

Other ones are I'm just gonna call this over stimulus something you did, you watched, you were part of, that caused it's over stimulus. Like maybe you watched a movie right before bed that was just exciting and fun, and you go to bed and you're like I don't feel like falling asleep because I'm just like too pumped up from the movie. Or you go to a concert or whatever it would be. You go to some outside entertainment and then you come home and you you don't have that wind down time. You come home. For example, we're going to my grand daughter's play on Thursday night and it's going to be past my scheduled bed time and so we have to drive home. I know when I get home I'm gonna be tired, it's gonna be late, but I'm not gonna be able to fall asleep and I know that.

Speaker 1:

Or for me and if you don't know this, I am a big sporting event I should have been the the man figure in my house because I love ESPN, I love watching all of the college basketball and professional basketball and football and all different types of sports, and there, if the there's a NBA game on or a college basketball game on, I'm watching that until the end. And then I try to go to sleep and I'm I lose that deep sleep cycle. Or maybe you're burning the midnight oil, and what I mean here is you're trying to catch up. Maybe you're trying to catch up with laundry, or you're trying to catch up with the dishes, or you're trying to catch up with the administration stuff from a caregiving perspective, or the flip side. You're working a full-time job, or you're working a part-time job, and you have those couple hours, one when your husband goes to bed or your loved one goes to bed, and you're like, hmm, I'm just gonna try to get a few hours of work in so that I can try to catch up for the next day. Well, it's like a endless cycle, though, because you try to go to bed, you lost hours because you, you didn't go to bed on time, and now you're you're overstimulated because you had to stay on.

Speaker 1:

The other thing is technology, or specifically, blue light. Your body needs to see the. It's almost like the sunrise. In the sunset, your body needs to see the lights go down and the natural light go down, and when you are looking at blue light, like your phone or a computer or your iPad or even the TV, you're telling your, your mind and your body that it's still. It's still daylight, and just to turn the blue light off and expect your body to fall asleep it's not going to. It needs that wind down time, and taking away blue light is going to help you get a better night's sleep. So those are the causes that I thought of right away. There are so much out there, there's so much information out there, but those are the main ones that I wanted to touch on today.

Speaker 1:

So why do you need adequate sleep at, especially as a caregiver? And I just wanted to share these because, just like anybody, we need to be reminded why sleep is so important. I truly believe sleep is just as important as exercise. The sleep is just as important as eating healthy it is. It should be at the top of your list of how are you taking care of yourself, and one of the pieces should be I'm getting adequate sleep, because adequate sleep lowers your stress level when you get the your recommended hours of sleeping. Now, studies show seven to nine hours of sleep is a restful night sleep. You know what your restful night sleep is. You, you perform at your best the next day. When you get a good night sleep, your body naturally reduces the levels of cortisol and the other stress hormones that cause stress and you can go into your next day well rested and better to handle your challenges for your next day. Your moods better. You can make decisions better, whatever it would be restful night sleep and adequate sleep improves your memory reach.

Speaker 1:

Research has shown that sleep plays a large role in processes, processing and retaining information. Now that I'm talking out loud, I wish I would have gotten the stat on when you don't get adequate sleep. It lowers your lifespan. There is a stat on it. Now I might go ahead and just broadcast that on one of my my social posts, like my Instagram posts this week. But have you caught yourself saying I'm losing my mind, I can't focus, I'm forgetting things? You want to pay attention to your sleep and or your lack of sleep, because chances are, when you can't stay focused, when you can't go ahead and pay attention and you're forgetting things, the stress is part of the issue. But are you working on your stress from a sleep perspective? Because, remember, it's going to reduce those cortisol and those stress hormones and relax them when I was in the hospice I have so many stories of hospice.

Speaker 1:

I have a story of when my I was so sleep deprived that I just peed my pants in one spot. I just couldn't control any of my bodily functions anymore. I was so sleep deprived Talk about embarrassing, but that's not the one I want to really talk about here. But in hospice care I had, I couldn't remember things like when I because we did at home hospice care and the hospice agency taught us how to administer medications and what we needed to do to monitor it. And they were just saying you know, mom and dad needed so much of this drug at a specific time. They needed the this drug at a specific time. They told us that, but I knew, in the midst of not being able to get enough sleep, I was going to forget, and so I journaled everything out so that I would not forget if I gave my, my dad, morphine or if I went ahead and I can't even remember the anti gurgling medicine that you would give, give your, your loved one so we could do that every so hours. I couldn't even remember, like if I had to run to the grocery store to get groceries. I couldn't remember what I needed when I got there Because I didn't get enough sleep.

Speaker 1:

I know you can relate to this on those bad, challenging days, and so it affects your memory, it affects your mood, it affects your stress levels. Also, if you don't get adequate sleep, it can reduce, it can help, it can affect your mental disease and so you might be feeling more hopeless when you have a reduced sleep, because feelings of hopelessness can accompany our trials of caregiving. When we are sleep deprived, it can affect our mood, it can lead to depression, it can lead to sleep apnea and our overall optimism on things and our outlook on things. Think about what you do the most when you're sleep deprived. I can cry at the top drop of a pin usually, or I can get so angry. I have this teeter totter one side or another. So whenever you're feeling depressed, sadness or have thoughts of hopelessness, one check in is to say how did I sleep last night? Or you're really negative or edgy. Ask yourself and take a look back at how you slept. What did you eat? Did you have exercise in the last 24 hours? All of those things can tell us a story. I really, you know I say this all the time our mind and our body are amazing because they send us signals. It's just whether we listen to them or not.

Speaker 1:

Now, sleep can lower anxiety or, if we're sleep deprived, it can make us more anxious. Caregivers are naturally concerned. We're concerned about our loved ones, but too little sleep or lack of sleep can intensify our levels of anxiety on the next day at least 30%. We can go ahead and feel extra anxious, and a lot of people have said I feel so anxious. Well, our lack of sleep, a lack of sleep, can cause us reduced activity in the areas of the brain. I get so excited. I look at my notes and my mind is just going. You know, thinking about it.

Speaker 1:

When we have lack of sleep, we don't want to move our bodies, we want to drink more caffeine or we want to eat more, and then we start getting anxious because we're throwing our body off. Deep sleep, on the other hand, it naturally smushes or inhibits anxiety yeah, it does, now also one that I really talked about already. But when you're asleep deprived, it affects your mood, it affects your overall feeling for the day, and so when you get that sleep, it improves your mood. You're more optimistic and you look at things differently, and you know what more than I do about yourself is. What are those, and I talked about that already. Another one is when you are sleep deprived. Tell me if you do this or not. When you're sleep deprived or really tired, what does your body want you to do? It wants you to go ahead and reach for some sort of drug or caffeine, but for me, I resort to junk food and comfort food. Do you do the same thing? Thinking that's going to help? It is Like lack of sleep can cause us to reach for foods that we really don't need, but our body is craving.

Speaker 1:

Over-eating can gradually lead to poor health, such as obesity, blood sugar issues and high blood pressure. I remember sharing with you many, many times in those first six months. I gained 30 pounds. I gained 30 pounds because I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't exercising, I was letting those stress get to me, and a good night's sleep can counter the cravings for sweets and salty foods, and so you want to think about that and, overall, you want to think about when you're not sleeping well, it affects your overall health. The benefits of eating healthy and exercise diminish when the caregiver does not adequately sleep. We don't have the energy to exercise. We don't even want to eat healthy. Plus, constant sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing a range of health conditions that we talked about, but it also can increase our risks of cancer, heart disease, inflammation, obesity and our overall immune system.

Speaker 1:

How many times have you seen a caregiver talked to a caregiver, or maybe it happened to you that you've caught a cold or you're achy or you're not feeling good? Yeah, because you're not taking care of yourself, and that's why I think sleep has to be talked about today, because you can try to go for a walk, you can try to eat healthy, but if you're not doing all three, then you're off balance. So how do caregivers like you and I get quality sleep? You notice I didn't say routine sleep, because I think sometimes we're not going to get the routine sleep. Reality is, we may not be able to get routine sleep all the time, but when you can sleep, let's make sure you get quality sleep by implementing some of these healthy habits that I can help you with. Some of them you probably have heard, but when I implemented these and really thought about how could I sleep better, I started sleeping better.

Speaker 1:

I want you to think about the things you can control. First of all, because when you wake up from a good night's sleep, I want you to think about how you feel after a good night's sleep. You feel refreshed. You feel happier, more optimistic. You might even put on makeup and put your best clothes on. You feel better. Look at a good night's sleep as important as eating and exercise.

Speaker 1:

In my opinion, sleep right now should be your top priority. It should be your top priority because it's going to fuel you to go ahead and go for a walk. It's going to get you to think about the importance of healthy eating. The first thing that you want to think about and I have I think I have really four suggested ways for quality sleep and involved in these four multiple things. So, first of all, you want to figure out your schedule and stick to a schedule. Just like a child goes to bed for school at 8 pm at night and they get up at 6 am in the morning, they keep that schedule to go to school so that they can perform at their best. You are the same way. I am so glad there are actresses and actors and influencers now talking about the importance of sleep, like Jamie Lee Curtis, and I think that she's a perfect example. She's up in her age now but she knows that she can't stay out until one o'clock in the morning at the Grammys anymore she sneaks out at 10 o'clock because she needs to go ahead and keep her schedule as close as she can. So stick to a schedule and it's going to look different for caregiving right now, but stick to a schedule.

Speaker 1:

Your body and mind will thank you when you go to bed at a certain time and wake up at a certain time, and try to keep that consistent, even on the weekends, because being consistent reinforces your body's sleep and wake-up cycle. And I'm not going to get into all of the science about deep sleep and stuff like that. You can go ahead and do your own research. But I think the big piece is when you go to bed at a specific time, like I wind down and my phone actually tells me one hour before it's wind down time or bedtime routine is a reminder to go ahead and that's when I and I'll talk about this a little bit. That's why I put my phone away and I start winding down and I'm in bed at nine o'clock. I may not be sleeping at nine o'clock because I get up at five o'clock in the morning, and so I want to be consistent.

Speaker 1:

In the Empowerful Caregiver School which we will be offering it again shortly, we have a dedicated lesson in a lesson that, with that, really dedicates it to the different parts of your day. I call them the five chunks of your day, and each chunk or part of your day you want to identify what you can control and what you can't control. Like morning is is chunk number one, and then mid morning to lunch, is is chunk number two, and then three and four are afternoon and and dinner time. Chunk number five is your nighttime routine and your bedtime routine, and you want to focus in on what can I do to make the next day even better and help me get a good night's sleep. Well, I use what I call the four, three, two, one approach or method. This is my method.

Speaker 1:

Four hours before you go to bed, you really start to wind down, and so I go to bed at nine, so at five o'clock I am really trying to prepare the best I can for my nighttime. Now I'm really working on the caffeine, but four hours before recommendation is no more caffeine, no more quick chocolate or a dessert treat of any kind, because that's stimulus. I I try to limit my exercise or strenuous physical activities Like I. I could go for a slower walk, but I don't want to get my heart rate up and I don't want to get the sweat on at that time. I can do light, but I don't want to go ahead and over stimulate my brain because it's going to think that I can have to continue to work and stay awake. Now, three hours before I go to bed, I stop my food and so no more eating so that my digestive system can process the food. It's working hard trying to go ahead and process that food and getting the digestion to settle, and so I want to go ahead and do that.

Speaker 1:

Two hours before bed I prep for tomorrow, meaning that I'm trying to avoid that my brain would brace to say what do I have to do tomorrow? When I lay my head on my pillow, I've already prepped for it. So it could be really simple, like looking at my calendar for the next day or setting out my clothes. It could be if I have to take a loved one to the appointment. I have my bag packed. I could put out my meds for my loved one. What am I going to do that I can get one step ahead the next day and not be scrambling in the morning and really being prepared so you're not laying in bed going? I got to remember to do this tomorrow. I got to remember to do this. Who am I meeting with tomorrow? What time does my day start tomorrow? You're doing all of that ahead of time and it could take two minutes, it could take 15 minutes, but I try to do that. Sometimes I do it four hours before, but within two hours I have that all done. And then the key one here if you can't do anything, do number one.

Speaker 1:

One hour before you go to bed, you try to go ahead and teach your brain that it's wind down time, which means you lower the lights or turn them all off and you know, just have dimming lights. You turn off any blue lights, and what I mean by the blue lights is the lights from your phone, your computer, your tablet, even the TV, which some people may not agree with, but my husband still has his TV on when he goes to bed. I don't have a TV. We have separate rooms now because of his cancer and his sleep apnea. So we kind of are in this midlife thing, not saying that we don't love each other but we do, but we have separate rooms.

Speaker 1:

But having the blue light on, let's say you decide I'm going to go ahead and check my emails or check my Facebook or scroll videos before you go to bed. Well, what are you doing? You're holding that blue light to your face. It's like imitation sunshine that you're telling your mind and your body that it's still light outside. And your body, if you just shut it off and expect your body to go to bed, it's not going to fall asleep right away. Or if you do, it's miraculously falling asleep because most of the time you're not going to fall asleep. So one hour before bed, it's like lower your lights, turn off any blue lights that you can. I would advise you to put that phone in a different spot so you don't grab it in the middle of the night and shine that blue light in your face. Yeah, that may require you to have like a watch by your bad or getting some sort of alarm clock that those alarm clocks that have that light come on in the morning, that's. Those are remarkable and I use this time, that one hour before bedtime, to shower or a hot bath, to read, to journal, to meditate, because it's the it's not blue light in my face and I just have a softer light that I read with, or are I have a softer light that I meditate with, but you're telling your body that it's time to get ready for bed.

Speaker 1:

Now, number two that I think is really something you can work on is the environment in your room that you're sleeping at. Is it dark, meaning that? Do you have darkening? Do you have light shining in? Because any light that your body can feel or see is telling your mind in your body to stay awake. When we were in the stem cell transplant, dennis would laugh at me because I can't have any light and so I would booby trap all of the curtains and have like pillows against the curtain so that that little crack wouldn't show through in the curtains. I would have towels over the top of like the, the alarm clock so that light wouldn't shine through or anything that had a little bit of light. It drove me crazy. I need everything dark. I need it dark.

Speaker 1:

Obviously, I learned that an eye mask is better, and and it should be cool it should be a cool enough where you want to snuggle underneath your covers, and so having a fan or having your room temperature go down at night is something that you want to work on. So because when you, when it's dark and cool, you sleep better. Now sound to. If you get woken up by sound, you want to go ahead and diminish that if at all possible. Maybe it's earplugs or a sound machine or a fan that overrides if you're near traffic or any type of of loud noises. And we talked about this phone.

Speaker 1:

A lot of people now put their phone away from their bed so that they don't have a chance to pick it up. Let's say you wake up in the middle of your night and, like I can't fall back to sleep, I'm just going to look at my phone. That is the worst thing to interrupt your sleep. So the best thing would do would be to go ahead and get up, go to the bathroom maybe, put on some lavender lotion or, you know, sit down and meditate a little bit and try to relax your body and go back to bed and not not expose yourself to any lights. And so you want to get your phone.

Speaker 1:

I put my phone in my nightstand so that I don't see it, and everybody asked me well, what about if somebody needs to get ahold of you? Most of the time in the middle of the night, people will not call you, text you unless they need something, and if they are doing something that they're messaging you or texting you, it can wait until the morning. However, I have found that I've gone to my contacts and I've put in emergency overrides in my family members so if they would call in the middle of the night and it was an emergency, I could take that call, and so that's another one. I also found that, in addition to like the sounds, the sleep apps that are in your applications on your phone might be something that might help you at night that you can go ahead and play, maybe a story that you can listen to in the dark. Or I found sense to help. I have a warmer that warms like what, is it wax or a candle in your room and put that on a couple hours before and blow the candle out. You still have that lavender smell. Lavender relaxes you, vanilla relaxes you, versus in your living space and in your kitchen you want lemon and orange and citrusy smells because that's gonna wake you up and do that. So, thinking about that, maybe it's a diffuser that diffuses up some scented oils in your room. That might help. Or, like I said, maybe you buy yourself some lavender soap or gel or lotion and or vanilla and that just helps you on wide.

Speaker 1:

Now, if you're having trouble sleeping, I'm just gonna say check in with yourself. Ask yourself why you can't sleep at night. Did you take a nap during the day? Did you have challenges that are getting your mind racing? Maybe the challenge was an argument or a frustration that you had. Get that journal out and journal it out before you go to bed. Sometimes my best ideas are when I'm in bed. I'm like, oh, I wanna do this. I have a creative idea. Well, I have it in my nightstand where I'll pull it out and then just write it down. When it's written down, I can go back to sleep and then wake up in the morning and look at it. So you wanna continue it. There are sleeping apps. There are different ideas. Just Google out there.

Speaker 1:

Now, if you can't fall asleep and it's a continuous issue and you've tried so many things, I think you need to reach out to your doctor or your health professional and start talking to them about your sleep. Now, I'm not gonna go on the side of medication or not. It's a personal choice but there are also things that you can use from a homeopathic perspective, like supplements or oils or something like that. But you wanna check with your doctor, you wanna test these and really do that. My husband came to the point where he had sleep apnea and so he wasn't getting a good night's sleep, which was causing a lot of health issues, and so when he started getting the sleep apnea device, that helped him so much.

Speaker 1:

Now, if you can't fall asleep too, try different hacks, like a lavender tea. Maybe you get up and have yourself a little bit of lavender tea and you do some stretching, or you do some meditation, or you listen to some quiet, relaxing music. Or maybe you figure out my bladder is waking me up in the middle of the night and I have to pee. Well, maybe you need to look at your 4-3-2-1 and making sure you hydrate earlier in the day and you don't hydrate as much in those last two hours and you just limit yourself to whatever fluid intake you have so that you can get a good night's sleep. Or did you have a glass of wine or an alcoholic beverage now, because obviously that's gonna stimulate you? Or I was like, oh my gosh, I love my dark chocolate, and so I would have a piece of dark chocolate and then can figure out why can't I fall asleep? And something as simple as one piece of dark chocolate can get me going and I can't fall asleep.

Speaker 1:

Now my last one about some hacks is your morning routine. It can contribute to your fatigue as well, and so if you are getting a good night's sleep and you're questioning, well, why am I still fatigued or exhausted? And I want you to take a look at what do you do first thing in the morning. Are you hitting that snooze alarm? Or, like me, resetting your alarm clock on your phone and giving yourself an extra half hour? Because what happens and there's lots of science behind it, but I'm gonna give you the layman's terms is you're actually saying to your body it's time to go back to sleep in a deep sleep cycle, but after an hour you wake back up and your body didn't get to go through that full cycle, and so now it's even harder to wake up because your body didn't go through the entire sleep cycle. You interrupted it and now you're thinking, oh my God, I've been yawning for the last half hour.

Speaker 1:

It can take up to an hour to wake your body up, especially when you hit that snooze button. So here's my morning routine, and this is another one. This is that first chunk of your day. For some people, that first chunk of the day could be 15 minutes. For some people, they may have the luxury of two hours in the morning without having to do anything. I so envy them.

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And your morning routine is getting up, and by getting up and out of bed, you're telling your body oh, it's time to wake up. And then you're turning on the light. Don't check your phone right away, because when you check your phone right away, sure that blue light's gonna wake you up, but your mind is going to be somebody else is going to take over your thoughts, meaning you're gonna read your emails or you're gonna look at Facebook or Instagram or excuse me or play a game, and so now your mind is off. So try to avoid checking your phone. Let me just take a drink of water here quick. Instead, force yourself to wait until your morning routine is done or have a specific time that you check your phone. Maybe it's when you have your cup of coffee and you've done all of your morning routine Instead stretching, meditation, journaling.

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I always try to think about making my bed, because this is a sacred place that I'm gonna come back to tonight, and I actually do my cleanup and cleaning routine in the morning, and then that's the time where I listen to a podcast, but give yourself time to adapt to the morning. Maybe it's music for you or a prayer, and then you have your cup of coffee outside, where you're letting your body soak in the morning light of the day, which wakes you up and allow your body to wake up with natural light versus blue light. And I swear to you, this makes a huge difference as well when it comes to your sleep cycle, because not only is your sleep a cycle, your wake up morning routine is your post cycle. So now there are tons and tons, like I said before, of research and information on getting quality sleep, and there are people out there that are sleep coaches that can help you if that is something you are really, really needing to focus on. But I'm hoping that a few of these things will help you see the importance of focusing on your sleep as well as giving you some tips. Check in with yourself. I feel you should know what your quality of sleep looks like.

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If I asked you, think about this, how many hours work best for you of sleep? What would you tell yourself? For me it's nine hours. I don't know why, but nine is my sweet spot because and it's nine hours in bed because I don't fall asleep right away at nine o'clock and I just do some verbal and mental work while I'm falling asleep. What next question is what disrupts your sleep and why? Is it self-induced disruptions and you potentially could control those like caffeine and eating at right time and not over stimulating yourself? Or is the season right now uncontrollable and it's disrupting your sleep? Yeah, then it's just you have to figure out that. It's funny because my son and his girlfriend are putting my little grandchild into a big boy bed and they sent me a picture of Curtis in his big boy bed last night and they replied back saying we know that we're not going to be getting a good night's sleep for the next few days, and that's true. So they're anticipating that they're in this season right now where they're not going to be getting a good night's sleep and I fed to them.

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Instead of you both not getting a good night's sleep, work out some sort of plan. Is it going to be? You do a 50-50 at night. Is it going to be one night as mom, one night as dad? Whatever it would be, because the worst case scenario is you don't want to both be sleep deprived, because you can try to control some things. What are things that for you? And here's another question what are things you can start working on from your sleep perspective? And my suggestion is do one at a time and then maybe do one for the week and see if it makes a difference and experiment. Try another thing and see if it makes a difference. Maybe the 4-3-2-1 thing doesn't work for you, maybe it has to be 3-2-1, or maybe it has to be 5-4-3-2-1, whatever it would be. See what you can do.

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I've had so many people tell me, oh my gosh, that one hour before bed made a huge difference. Or Lisa, if you're listening, I remember you telling me you finally got back to reading and you used that the one hour before you go to bed. You know those are the things that you want to work on. I will tell you when I started focusing on my environment and timing. It was a game changer for me. And when I slip out of it and I'm watching my basketball games until 11 o'clock at night or I grab the iPad and do my nighttime routine like washing my face and brushing my teeth, and I still have the iPad on watching the basketball games, I know it's crazy. I feel like crap in the morning. I just am not on my game and I have to be okay with it and stop feeling sorry for myself the next day because I made that my issue in there. So in closing, let me just wrap it all up in a nice little bowl and send you on your way.

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Remember that quality sleep is not a luxury.

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It is a necessity.

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I know, from a caregiving perspective, it's hard.

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You know you're facing unique challenges every day.

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By prioritizing our sleep and implementing healthy sleep habits so we can better manage stress, we can improve our mood and, most importantly, safeguard our overall health and well-being.

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So let's commit to establishing a consistent sleep schedule and being aware of what we can impact and what we can impact. Create a conducive sleep environment for yourself and start addressing any factors that may be disrupting your sleep and try to work on quick fixes like mom and dad are with Curtis right now or what can I do to go ahead and implement a long-term solution. But remember, start small, because then you can experiment and start leading to improvements in your sleep quality and ultimately, you're going to be a better caregiver, you're going to provide better care to your loved ones, and so I want you to give this a try and let me know what things you're doing to improve on your sleep. Remember, sleep is self-love, sleep is self-care, and sleep is something that we have more control over than we think. So, my friend, take care, and here's to restful night's sleeps ahead and rejuvenating days ahead. We'll talk to you again next week. Bye for now.

The Importance of Sleep for Caregivers
The Importance of Quality Sleep
Prioritizing Quality Sleep for Better Health
Improving Morning Routine for Quality Sleep
Prioritizing Sleep for Caregivers