Assuming the role of a caregiver is not something to take on lightly.

This is not your typical 9-5 job. You have to make sure you provide your family member in need or client the help that they require.

During your time as a caregiver, there are going to be those late nights where you very well might have to stay up until three in the morning or have to continuously wake up during the night. And your health is critical. If you’re not healthy, you lose the ability to care for your loved one.

I recommend hiring an agency that can provide a caregiver for at least two to three nights a week to give yourself a break. Having at least a few nights off during the week will give you the chance to rest and catch up on your sleep.

Don’t be hesitant to ask for help. Remember that you don’t have to put all of the weight on your shoulders, find a caregiver to help out. With your caregiver, plan the nights that you would like them to be there. It’s good to keep those night spread out throughout the week.

Caregivers are experienced with clients who have trouble sleeping and have dealt with those who have sundowners, a person who has dementia that increasingly becomes irritable as the day progresses. Make sure you keep a consistent schedule to prevent any drastic changes that may affect the family member in need or client. Create a weekly schedule and stick to it.

Sleep is important for everyone; it helps you stay focused, keeping your mental and physical health stable. Keeping a regular sleeping schedule is essential for both you and your family member needing in-home care.

As long as you are getting around eight hours of sleep a few times a week, that is better than burning the midnight oil every night. You cannot effectively do your job as a caregiver without a proper sleep schedule.

By Sally Dalhem

Sally Dahlem is a partner at Home by Choice, which provides private-duty homecare services. She and her business partner, John Markham, have more than 35 years of experience in home healthcare, assisted living, long-term care and the medical equipment industries.