You’re a family caregiver and your dad’s nightly routine is wearing thin. You’re losing sleep now that you’re living under the same roof. He gets up a lot more than you think he needs to. He might stay awake until long past midnight and wake you up as he gets ready to go to bed. He may go to bed too early and get up at 3 a.m. and start to make too much noise. There are ways to get him to sleep through the night.
Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
Create a bedtime routine that gets your dad’s body ready for
sleep. Aromatherapy like lavender or chamomile helps. Some soft music or white noise will drown out traffic or other outside noises that keep him awake. Instead of watching TV, have him read a book for half an hour or more. Before long, he’ll feel tired and be ready to turn out the lights and go to sleep.
Eat Earlier in the Evening
When your dad’s stomach is full and he goes to lay down, he’s likely to develop heartburn. Acid reflux after a meal does happen in some seniors. If he eats a larger meal at lunch and a lighter meal at dinner, he can avoid that. Aim for a noon lunch and a light dinner at 4:30 when possible. If you’re at work still, hire caregivers to prepare a light dinner for him.
Get Plenty of Activity During the Day
Some seniors spend retirement taking naps in the afternoon. This disrupts the sleep schedule. It’s fine if your dad lives alone, but when you’re a family caregiver, it can be hard to manage. You may have a job to get to in the morning, but your dad’s noise at night keeps you up.
Keep your dad from napping during the day. Make sure he takes at least one walk each day. He should socialize as much as possible either in his community or at a senior center. If that’s not possible, companionship services from caregivers will help.
Stay Hydrated After Dinner With Sips Rather Than Full Glasses
You don’t want your dad to become dehydrated, but large glasses of water will have him waking up and needing to rush to the bathroom. Have him stick to sips of water after dinner. He needs to avoid drinking a lot of water right before bedtime.
Remember that seniors do have a harder time sleeping through the night. If dementia is present, it can worsen insomnia. Your dad may wake up very early or stay up until the early morning. You’ll need help if wandering is happening. Call a home care agency to talk about caregivers.