Rest, Relax, Sleep
You’re not alone if catching up on sleep is high on your wish list. Many family and whānau carers feel the same way.
Make your room sleep friendly
Making small adjustments to your surroundings can help to improve the quality of your sleep. Use blackout blinds to make your bedroom dark and take away all distractions such as TVs and computers. If you’ve had your mattress for a long time, it might be worth investing in a new one to help make your bed more comfortable, or you could try a sheepskin or affordable ‘pillow top’ underlay. Adjust the temperature in your room so you don’t feel too hot or cold. Sleep with your window open – even just slightly. Fresh air makes a difference.
Get into a routine
Establishing a routine will help you, the person you support, and any others in your household sleep better. Try to go to bed and get up at the same times each day, even at the weekends. Make time to unwind before you go to bed. Have a warm bath or read a few chapters of your book. Avoiding ‘screen time’ on computers or other devices for a couple of hours before bedtime might help too.
Calm your mind
Relaxation exercises and meditations may help if an overactive mind is stopping you getting the rest you need. Anna Filliol’s Five Minute Meditation audio series is a good place to start. You might also like to visit the University of Auckland’s CALM website, which has relaxation exercises and meditations designed to aid better sleep (see Useful Links).
Use a ‘listening’ monitor at night
Sometimes the sleep habits of the person you support can affect getting a good night’s sleep yourself. Use a listening monitor if you’re worried you won’t hear them if they need you during the night. And talk to your doctor if there’s a problem like sleep apnoea or snoring; there are aids to help.
Sleep drops and remedies
Ask your chemist about the latest natural products to aid sleep. Carers have told us these work well.