If you’re a caregiver experiencing sleepless nights, you know “no sleep” means you may feel physically and mentally drained in the morning. As a result, it can be challenging to face and deal with your loved one’s needs, as well as your own. Your first thought may be to get a quick energy boost with a cup of coffee, tea, or another caffeinated beverage, but the caffeine won’t keep you going all day.
Here are some healthy ways to help you get through your sleep-deprived day and still feel good as you care for your loved one.
Avoid Quick-Fix Snacks
When your body is sleep-deprived, it craves carbohydrates and foods high in glucose and/or sodium. Snack foods like cookies, doughnuts, candies, crackers, and chips taste good, but are just a quick, short-term energy fix. Ultimately your body experiences a let- down; likewise, too much of these foods is simply not healthy and can lead to an unwanted weight gain. Steer clear of these tasty snacks. Instead, eat an apple, orange, banana, or a handful of nuts to satisfy your hunger and provide energy in a healthy way.
Eat Small, Healthy Meals
A large, calorie-rich meal can make you feel sleepy and sluggish. Try eating several smaller meals throughout the day and be sure to include high-protein foods. Protein provides and sustains energy for a longer time period than simple carbohydrates.
Consider enjoying one of these smaller, lighter meals:
Don’t Overdo Caffeine
When you’re tired and know you have many daily chores to do for your loved one, it may be tempting to double or triple your daily amount of caffeine. Unfortunately it’s likely this increase will keep you awake when it’s time to go to sleep. Instead of upping your caffeine quotient, consider sticking with the same amount of caffeine you drink during the day following a good night’s rest.
Grab a Nap
Napping is healthy for your body. Studies show that occasional napping may decrease a person’s risk of coronary heart disease. If you can make the time to take a nap, be sure another person is present in your home to care for your loved one, particularly if he/she has special needs that require constant attention.
Refresh with a Cold Shower
While a soothing hot shower may sound good, it can leave you sleepy. Take a quick, cold shower or wash your face with cool water to revitalize you! This refreshing break can make you feel better all over and ready to take on your next caregiving task.
Walk for 30 Minutes
A brisk walk can physically and mentally recharge you! It brings fresh oxygenated blood to your muscles and organs, boosts your metabolism, and lifts your spirits. This added energy can help sustain you throughout the day.
Water is essential to your body’s good health. Fifty-five to 60 percent of the average body is comprised of water. Drinking water throughout the day protects you from dehydration. Even mild dehydration, as little as one- to two-percent loss of body water, can reduce your energy and make you weary, so caregiving responsibilities can be even more challenging.
After a sleepless night, you should also recognize that you may have some limitations and should avoid activities that could compromise your safety and your loved one’s, especially:
Sleepless nights are not always due to restless sleep or getting up during the night to care for your loved one. In some situations, you may know ahead of time that a sleepless night is unavoidable due to your loved one’s condition. If this is the case, try to get some rest before you pull an “all-nighter.”
Here are a few tips that may help you if you need to stay up all night::
Remember, your health and well-being are important. You need to have the energy and positive mindset to care for your loved one, and yourself.