Home Caregivers: Keep a Sleep Diary

​​ElderlyManSleeping-300x199.jpgMany home caregivers are familiar with this scenario: Grandmother suffers from declining health and lacks mental focus, all because she isn't sleeping properly. Chances are too, if Grandmother has a sleep problem, so does her caregiver.

Some have difficulty falling asleep, while others wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep. Still other seniors sleep, but don't feel rested.

Whatever the situation, it's important that home caregivers take steps to help correct the problem. Getting a proper night's sleep is crucial for everyone's health.

Often a visit (or visits) to the doctor are needed, especially if the sleep issues are ongoing. To provide the doctor with solid, accurate information, consider keeping a sleep diary. "She's not sleeping well" is good information, but "For the last week, she's woken up every night between 2:00 and 3:00 and doesn't fall back asleep for at least two hours" is even better.

The Sleep Diary

Home caregivers should keep the diaries by their bedsides (along with handy pens or pencils). Information can also be input into a computer. Be sure to include the following:

Dietary information. Include information about what the senior ate or drank during the day and night, and at what approximate times. Be sure to include mention of alcohol and caffeine intake.

Daytime sleep information. If the loved one took a nap (or naps), indicate when and for how long.

Medications. Include information about sleeping pills or natural sleeping aids (such as melatonin), and any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, in case these have some stimulating effect.

Bedtimes and wake-up times. Does your senior loved one have a regular bedtime and wake-up time, or do these times vary?

Time to fall asleep. Does the senior in question toss and turn for hours, or is she or she asleep within minutes, but awake again in just a few short hours?

How often the senior woke up and how long it took to fall asleep again. If there is a clear reason that he or she awoke, be sure to indicate that as well.

Noteworthy behavior. This might include coughing, sneezing, choking, gasping, nausea, sleepwalking, talking during sleep, etc.

Often, home caregivers won't have 100% of the information that they would like. For example, they may actually have a good night's rest themselves and not be aware that Father was awake for what he thinks was half the night. However, including as much information as possible will enable the caregiver and the doctor to better assess the issue and come up with a plan to provide for more rest for all.​

Related Article
Proper Sleep Is Important for Seniors​ - newportnews.myhomecareblog.com​


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