Apart from healthy food, water, and air it is quality sleep that actually helps build immunity. Sleeping peacefully can become very challenging under certain unavoidable circumstances, such as when you are a caregiver for your loved one in the hospital. The reason for being in the hospital could be a happy one such as arrival of a new baby in the family or an unpleasant one where your loved one needs serious medical attention, in either case, getting a sound sleep in the hospital environment is challenging for the caregiver.
There are some obvious reasons why getting a sound sleep in a hospital environment is difficult. Some of these circumstances can be controlled whereas others not so much. Let’s have a look at the ones which we can alter to help sleep better.
1. Lights are too bright or rooms are too dark during the day: The hospital rooms are usually air-conditioned which means the windows would probably be closed throughout the day making the room look darker and duller. This atmosphere makes you feel sleepy and dull. During the day open the windows of the room and take a walk outside the room to soak some sunlight. At the night turn on the dimmer lights instead of white CFL lights. This process will help your body sync with your normal sleep cycle.
2. The bed and bedding feel different: Most of us are unable to sleep in a new environment because the mattress, beddings, or the pillows feel different i.e. they are either too firm or too soft. There is not much you can do about the mattress, however getting your own pillow and beddings will make your bed feel more homely and help you sleep better.
3. Too much ambient sound: Hospital is a place buzzing with human and machine sounds which can be overwhelming. The sounds of people walking, sirens, announcements, machines beeping etc. make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. To cancel the unwanted noise, carry your music with you with noise cancellation ear plugs or headphones. This will help you calm down and drift into sleep.
4. Don’t over think: Hospital environment tends to put our minds into overdrive and after having binged on Tele series like House and Grey’s Anatomy we start imagining the worst possible things at the slightest change in the vital signs or reports. Trust your doctors, if there is something that is bothering you always ask your attending doctor about it, because it could be an expected outcome and nothing to worry about. Not asking and over thinking about worse outcomes definitely does not help getting sound sleep. Make sure you put all your doubts to rest the moment they pop in your head.
5. Treatments and checkups at odd hours: Since hospitals are operational 24*7 all diagnostic departments are always working. This means that patients’ vitals are monitored throughout the day and night. If this happens often during the night, then it disturbs the sleep of the patient as well as the caregiver. Talk about this to your doctor and nurses so that they can schedule these check-ups in a manner that you and your loved one are able to get maximum rest during the night.
To make your stay at the hospital more comfortable and less stressful you must carry certain essential things along with you such as, clothes, footwear, toiletries, food, and entertainment.
We want to be every second with our loved one when they are in the hospital; however this attitude affects the caregiver mentally, physically eventually impacting their stamina and ability to take decision. So, if things are stable with the patient always agree to take a break, go home, shower, eat home meal, and sleep well.