Sleep for Caregivers

Sleep can be something caregivers dream about. Let’s make it a reality!


Lying in bed, afraid to let go.

Visions of blood consuming the house (diagnosis of Leukemia).

Listening for breaths, restlessness or stirring.

Worry of fevers and rush trips to the ER.


Heart pumping fiercely instead of relaxing.

Memories of fighting for life in those mid-night hours.

Rummaging through to-do lists and appointments for tomorrow.

Wonder if a person can really take one more day of this.


Craving…Demanding…Eluding caregivers.

It’s a caregivers nightmare – that constant loss of sleep.  Sometimes the lack of sleep is demanded by schedule and other times ordered by anxiety.  Caregivers live on high alert when things are catastrophic and worry when things have slowed to a waiting crawl.

Here’s the deal: in order to get sleep, caregivers have to let go.

In order to sleep, #caregivers have to let go! #cancercaregiving #caregiving Click To Tweet

A few moments of time or an entire night.  Our brains and our bodies require rest and we must let go.  Our own systems won’t be able to handle prolonged loss of sleep.  So how will we care for our patient?

Sleep was my biggest dilemna as a mom to a four-year-old with leukemia.  How do I choose sleep?  Ten years after chemotherapy, I still do not completely have the answer to that question – because I would never give up the time I spent helping my son.  So how do I let go during something catastrophic?  Yeah, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have a few suggestions:

  1.  Accept help with menial things so your time goes more where you want it.  Let someone mow your lawn or wash some dishes instead of staying up late to finish those jobs.  Most people are happy to help while you’re taking care of your loved one.
  2. Choose what to fight for and maintain, and what to let go.  It’s so hard to let things go when living in denial.  But really, who really cares whether or not you send out those Christmas cards anymore?  Let it go…
  3. Exercise.  No matter how tired.  Do SOMETHING to work off that excess adrenaline that stockpiles in our bodies when we love the person whose life is on-the-line.
  4. GO TO BED.  As ridiculous as that sounds, I found it astonishingly hard to do.  Just one more task, just a few more minutes, avoid the nightmares.  Keep going.  Refer here to numbers one through three.  GO TO BED

Seriously.  Grab moments and let your brain relax.


Community Spotlight:

This week’s spotlight shines on us from Jill at MemoryMinders  She shares with us:  Refill Your Leaky Bucket – some ways to take care of yourself and get refilled a bit! Click here to read some great suggestions.

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