I found that my self care went to zero whilst looking after my Mum and I’ve now got some health issues associated with stress. The biggest problem was lack of sleep. I don’t think I slept properly for 18th months. What tips are there for Carers being able to give themselves some care and what can they try to do about the sleep issues? Any hints/tips for Carers?
Amanda, I used to sleep well, but never sleep right through any more.
For years, I’ve woken in the middle of the night, getting back to sleep is difficult.
When I was waiting for two knee replacements, I counted one night, I woke 13 times!!
Now I have a little routine, I have a small kettle and a toaster in my bedroom, and take a tray with teapot, milk etc. so whenever I wake up, I can have tea and toast without disturbing the rest of the house.
(I sleep in my “garage”, converted to a lovely bedroom with vaulted ceiling by my eldest son after the car accident that ruined my knees). He sleeps upstairs in the cottage, and often has to set his alarm for 4.30am. He can do his breakfast without disturbing me.
I have Sky Plus in my bedroom, so I have some interesting programmes I really want to watch.
Then there are lots of repeats of things like Michael Portillo’s railway journeys, and Death in Paradise.
I also have a hot water bottle and a coldish bedroom, by choice.
So I get up, have a cup of tea, and snuggle down, mainly listening rather than watching TV.
Rest is more important than sleep at this stage, it’s now very unusual for me to be awake at the end of the programme.
If my son with learning difficulties is home for the weekend, I usually get up about 8am, but yesterday. on my own, I slept until 10am!
Give up trying to go to sleep, concentrate on being relaxed in bed.
I know the “experts” say no screens or TV for an hour before bed, etc. etc. but for me, concentrating on the TV programme keeps my other thoughts (usually how fed up I am with Social Services!) at bay.
Hi Amanda, I’m really sorry to hear how you have had trouble sleeping. Further to Bowling Bun’s really useful advice, there are some other tips that may be of interest here: Getting enough sleep | Carers UK
This ‘Share and Learn’ video may also help: Bedtime rituals and routines for carers with Sound Asleep Club - May 2021 - YouTube
I hope this is helpful.
Self care is crucial. I have a whiteboard I use for that purpose only. On it I write down five self care tasks to do each day etc. For example watching a nice movie, taking a nap, reading a book, having a shower or drinking wine. Even picking flowers and looking at colours in magazines helps. You could also try poetry.