This week, at my suggestion, The Caregiver Space posed a question on their Facebook page: If you had an hour break today what would you do for yourself?
The response was great: within a day over 100 people commented. See: https://www.facebook.com/TheCaregiverSpace/posts/782189718462471?stream_ref=10
Some people were astonished at the question, not even being able to imagine having an hour of free time. One especially creative person said, “No idea….when I get that hour, maybe I will know!”
You will not be surprised that the most frequent response was “SLEEP!” 31 people said they’d spend their one free hour sleeping or napping. So many of the other respondents sought some form of rest as well: luxuriating in a bath (15), with a manicure-pedicure (7) or massage (7).
Is it news that caregivers need sleep? Everyone needs sleep! In 2006 the Institute of Medicine reported that 50-70 million Americans were sleep deprived. A study by the National Sleep Foundation, published this past September, found that this is a global problem as well. But how do we help people get more sleep?
We know that lack of sleep affects our moods, our attitude and our spirit. Sleep deprivation harms our immune system by reducing killer cell activity and increasing the risk of clinical depression, hypertension or even stroke. It also impacts our ability to provide good care and our ability to sustain ourselves in doing so. We don’t need statistics: we know it from how we feel.
So let’s do something about it. Here’s what I propose: the Nap Challenge – Give a Nap. Take a Nap!
And here’s how it can work.
GIVE A NAP: Friends/family/fellow congregants of caregivers: reach out and offer to visit and provide respite time to a family caregiver you know who can use it. If this feels awkward to you, tell them that this playful author and life coach, Yosaif, suggested it and that you thought you’d try it out. Help them figure out a good time to do it. They know the general rhythm of the day for their loved one; maybe it can correspond to when she/he also usually naps.
TAKE A NAP: Family Caregivers, now is the time to step up this challenge by lying down and getting some soothing rest. Think about an hour of napping being a kind of spiritual vitamin – to help your spirit as well as your body and mind. Now, think about a few people whom you’d feel comfortable reaching out to whom your loved one would be comfortable having in your home. If you can, discuss this with your loved one. Then reach out to each of them and try it out. You might even tell them that, in addition to the benefits for you and your loved one, you’re part of a larger idea – this Nap Challenge: Give a Nap! Take a Nap! – of helping to spread the Nap Challenge to family caregivers and their supportive friends all around the world.
Do it now! And let me and The Caregiver Space (http://thecaregiverspace.org/) know the successes and great stories you can share with us about the wondrous things that will start to happen.
Meanwhile, pleasant dreams to you….until we meet again!