Insomnia - A Common Problem for Caregivers

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • Acid reflux (GERD) is notoriously associated with night awakenings. Therefore, caring for someone with acid reflux disease can lead to insomnia among caregivers. This issue of sleeplessness can turn into a major problem if not addressed.


    When we don't get enough rest, the problems can be more serious than just not feeling rested the next day. The body needs rest to repair tissue, cope with stress and recharge the immune system.


    When my son's reflux was at its worst, my husband and I often spent alternating nights caring for our son. Unfortunately, my sleep patterns had become so erratic, that I found it difficult to get a good night's sleep, even when I was "off duty." So, my doctor and I agreed that I should take an over-the-counter medication on the nights when I did not need to care for my son, and still could not sleep.

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    If you are struggling with the lack of sleep due to your caregiving responsibilities, I strongly suggest you discuss this issue with your own doctor. You will not be alone in this conversation. About 30 percent of the adults in the U.S. also have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Be sure to explain to your doctor how caring for someone with reflux has affected the situation, and what your nighttime duties will continue to be. This way, if the doctor deems medication is appropriate, he or she can prescribe a drug that will either allow you to function in the night as needed, or will allow you to sleep soundly when you are off duty.


    This too shall pass...maybe. In the meantime, make sure you are getting the sleep you need.

Published On: October 04, 2007