“My mom has moved in with us about a year ago and I feel like I’m out of control of my mind and body – my daily tasks are harder to focus on, I’ve gained weight, and I’m grouchy all of the time! The only major change that can identify is that my sleep has been greatly interrupted because I have been so worried having her here. Could this do it? Sandra from Marietta, GA

Thank you so much for your question!

The brief answer is, yes!

Lack of sleep in small doses can cause increased difficulties in completing tasks, concentration, unsafe actions, and poor decision making. Multiple studies show a consistent loss of sleep is found to have direct correlation with higher risk of accidents, increased risk of cardiac issues and diabetes, increased risk for psychiatric conditions such as substance abuse and depression, shortened life expectancy, and a higher risk of obesity.

Many of the chronic risks are directly related to both quantity and quality of sleep. For example, the primary regulation of the hormones that control appetite, energy metabolism and glucose processing happen during sleep – thus, poor sleep upsets the balance of these hormones that can over time lead to more chronic conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

Try as much as you can to establish a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine, exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime), and be aware of the potential effects of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. If small adjustments are made and you continue to be concerned, talk to your doctor about other potential methods or recommendations to improve your sleep quantity or quality. Also, if you are losing sleep because mom is requiring care frequently through the night, you might want to consider privately hiring a caregiver to meet her needs during those hours – to allow you the time to fully and restoratively rest.

Sleep for a caregiver is crucial to allow you to be present for her needs – as well as your own!

Wishing the best to you and yours!


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