Caregiving and sleep deprivation can go hand in hand. Our bodies desprately need sleep though, and it’s important to try to find ways to increase the length and better the quality of sleep. The Take Care Tips chapter on Sleep has been keeping me up at nights lately.
I’ve been finding out some really interesting facts about the critical role that sleep plays in our lives. I’ve come across some pretty startling statistics about sleep—actually lack of sleep—too:

—The National Institutes of Health estimates 30 million Americans are living with chronic sleep problems.
—A conservative estimate states that 100,000 car crashes a year can be blamed on drowsy drivers.
—People who regularly get less than six hours of sleep a night die younger than those who get more sleep a night.
We work hard during the day and our body-machines need rest to recharge and recuperate. Studies on professional caregivers: doctors, nurses, physician assistants, etc.’ show that percentages of errors in medical treatment go up when the professionals are on schedules that leave them sleep-deprived.
If the medical community is recognizing that they need to do what they can to restructure schedules so that well-rested teams are fully prepared to treat sick patients, we family caregivers should certainly pay attention. This is a clear cut example of the need for us to care for ourselves so that we can take care of others.
Gathering Ten Minute Tips for this chapter has been fun. I’ve learned about supposed sleep-inducing snacks, mental exercises, and even toe wiggling techniques!
Are you sleeping well? Please share your comments and caregiving stories with me.
Now that’s enough…get to bed!
j.
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