Sleepless Nights for Caregivers and their Parents


Caregiver in Guelph: Sleepless Nights for Caregivers and their Parents

Studies suggest that lack f sleep can lead to depression, memory loss and high blood pressure. Why is it that so many have difficulty getting the seven to nine recommended hours of sleep per night?

The Elderly

Insomnia is fairly common in this age group for a variety of reasons. These can include the side-effects of certain medications, chronic diseases such as arthritis that leave them in pain, frequent urination, anxiety and other health issues such as dementia.

The Caregiver

Insomnia in caregivers is often due to anxiety and stress. You may be worried about your parent or over-tired from the activities of the day. Try to get enough respite that you can take a day or two off each week to really do the things you love. Life is short but sweet. Try to enjoy as much of it as possible. If family and friends are under time-constraints, consider obtaining the services of an in-home care provider.

Tips to Getting More Shut Eye

Bodies tend to work best when there is an expected rhythm in their lives. They awake at sunrise and go to sleep in the darkest hours. Sunlight is an important part of this process—your body needs the light of the sun to regulate its sleep/wake cycle.

While naps are not intrinsically bad, those that are having trouble getting to sleep or getting back to sleep after awaking in the middle of the night, should abstain.

Bring lists of the medications you and your parent are taking, including over-the-counter and supplements, to your pharmacist. He will be happy to look them over to see if there are any indications or drug interactions that could be causing the sleepless nights.

Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine should be avoided. Coffee should be limited to a cup or two with breakfast and nicotine should be deleted in its entirety. Alcohol should only be consumed in moderation and avoided several hours before bedtime. Water should not be consumed right before bed.

Develop a regular exercise schedule. This will be good for both you and your parent and help in countless ways, including promoting a good night’s sleep. Consider a walk around the neighborhood after dinner or a gentle hike through the communities green space. Take a trip to the botanical gardens or enjoy a Tai Chi class together.


Developing a bedtime ritual that relaxes and sets the stage lets your body know that it is time to delve into the theta state. This may include a warm bath with Epsom salts and the essential oil of lavender, a cup of herbal tea that promotes relaxation, reading an enjoyable and relaxing book or listening to soft, serene music. There are several recordings on YouTube that are designed to help one get to sleep and get back to sleep should they awaken. These can be found by searching “Sleep Guided Meditations.”

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Guelph, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at 905.709.1767.



About Susan Di Michele

We have a team of dedicated healthcare professionals. We strongly believe in improving health and wellness of individuals, their families, and communities. Through nurturance, gentleness and compassion, our team strives to shine a light on what it takes to be role models of caring practice.
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