When you are in a caregiving role, however, it may be difficult to think about yourself and your own health needs. It is very important to remember that in order to continue to care for others, you must keep yourself healthy and strong.
Caregivers who must get up several times each night may not always be able to fall right back to sleep. Research has shown that sleep levels are a strong predictor of depression levels for caregivers. Lack of sleep my lead to more and varied physical and cognitive complications.
Here are five reasons that caregivers should be sure to get enough sleep:
1: Keeps you Healthier: Even if you are exercising and eating a balanced diet, if you are not getting enough deep sleep, you may increase your chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or increased inflammation. You may also be at higher risk of developing certain cancers.
2: Decreases your Food Cravings: People who don’t get enough sleep tend to seek out unhealthy foods in search of comfort. Studies have connected lack of sleep with increased cravings for sweet and salty foods. Lack of sleep may also increase a person’s risk of obesity.
3: Minimizes Anxiety: A recent study form University of California, Berkeley, determined that people who lack enough good quality sleep may become much more anxious about upcoming events. For some of the sleep-deprived subjects, the brain’s negative reaction increased by over 50 percent. A good night’s sleep can do a lot to calm one’s self.
4: Increases Memory: Scientists have determined that sleep is a crucial element in the way we are able to process and retain new information. Consolidation, the process that creates a solid memory in a person’s brain, may take place only during sleep.
5: Decreases Depression: The continual demands of being a caregiver can be trying under the best of circumstances. It is fairly well-known, however, that sleep-deprivation also plays a role in mood-regulation. Not only might lack of sleep increase the risk for developing depression, it may also intensify certain symptoms for people who are already suffering from mental disorders.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, 15.2 million Americans provide nearly 22 hours of unpaid care per person per week. That's the equivalent of a part-time job. Over 60% of caregivers report that the emotional stress of caregiving is very high. Over 40% say the same about the physical stress. These devoted caregivers may lose touch with their social networks. They might even lose interest in activities they used to enjoy. This may end up leading to a feeling of isolation. Getting enough sleep may help to avoid many of these common conditions.
Whether you are a family caregiver who would like some help, or you need constant care in the comfort of wherever you call home, Ezra Home Care can develop a support plan that suits your individual needs.
Contact us for a free consultation.