Doctor Diagnoses Carer Burnout! Why is Quality SLEEP Critical?

Jun 15 , 2022


Julie-Anne Dietz

Doctor Diagnoses Carer Burnout! Why is Quality SLEEP Critical?

Sleep Wellbeing

Recently I have become more and more interested in sleep and am really keen to find out more. Now I declare up front I am not a Doctor, or even any sort of sleep expert, but the one thing that I do know is that quality sleep is critical for all of us.
My personal interest in sleep has been motivated by some questions that I have such as…
  • Why do I wake up at the same time each night?
  • Why are my thoughts so clear, distinctive and sometime crazy at this time? And
  • Why is it my energy and attitude the day after is so linked to the quality of my sleep the night before?
Just out of interest did you know that World Sleep Day is the 13th March annually so its gotta be important … Right?
Who is caring for our carers?
The more fascinated I become about the principal of sleep, the more useful and interesting information I was able to find.
My primary motivation for this blog was generated by my concerns for Carer fatigue and burnout. I heard a caller on the phone the other day say that she had been actually diagnosed with Carer Burnout. I am not surprised to hear that this is a thing!
Our carers do an amazing job but fatigue, leads to stress and diminishes wellbeing. Who is taking care of our Carers? I know that this is a complex question with multiple layers but let’s start with the wonders of getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep is Your Memories Save Button
Did you know that when you learn something new – sleep is your SAVE BUTTON! It shifts the things that you have learnt from short term to your long-term memory, and it all is initially retained in the hippocampus. This is a section in the front middle section of your skull.
Further to this my dad has recently been diagnosed with dementia – so my interest in Dementia has been forced on me a little and I found out more about dementia too, when I went for the deep dive to understand sleep.
My research reinforced some things that I knew like – As we get older our memory declines. And then I had it confirmed that as we get older both our ability to sleep, and its quality starts to decline too. Especially the deep quality of sleep that is needed for recovery and repair. But then it hit me, specialists have confirmed that there is an inextricable link between aging, a decline in sleep and the onset of Alzheimer and dementia.
I learnt that sleeping pills are not the answer. Sleeping pills are considered a blunt instrument that do not produce naturalistic sleep. Then I learnt more about deep sleep brain waves, but now we are getting a little too in-depth for the purposes of this blog.
Back to my sleep.
I was listening to a sleep expert a couple of months ago on the ABC radio, a Doctor David Cunnington of the Sleep Hub.
Firstly, I learnt a lot from listening to the interview such as the reason that I wake up at the same time each night is basically due to my natural sleep cycle. As I am in a regular bedtime pattern meaning I am falling asleep at the same time I am working through my cycles: wake, light sleep, deep sleep, REM and repeat and waking at the end of one of my cycles. This has now become a pattern.
Now instead of being frustrated and fighting with myself to go back to sleep, Dr Cunnington said to focus on my breathing, bring myself to tiredness and fall back off to sleep. Then if this doesn’t work read a book with a low light, break my thoughts and attempt the sleep process again. I am pleased to say this is working.
Secondly, I found out that I can let my creative thoughts and other crazy things get the better of me when I wake up at the end of my cycle. I found out that this is purely because at this time, I have nothing else to distract my mind. If obtrusive thoughts where to occur during the day there is so much happening around me with work, family, friends, phone calls, media the news etc etc. that it is quite easy to shift my mind when I need to. This isn’t the case when you wake up in the middle of the night. There is nothing to distract me and I have to process and deal with everything as I try to go back to sleep.
Thirdly, Dr Cunnington mentioned that the best stage of sleep was the deep sleep stage and the most essential because it is considered the healing stage. Arriving at the deep sleep stage is so important for healing and explains why some days my physical and mental health energy levels are better on some days than others. The long and short of this is that quality sleep is critical to holistic wellbeing. If you would like to find out more on this go to Health Line.
Sleep is your superpower
Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.
If are interested further on the topics of sleep and dementia take a look at this TED Talk it is really good. Matt Walker – Sleep if your superpower – TED Talk
At DEO we are keen to support all attempts at quality sleep and have some great bedding and sheet products for you to consider. Here are the links if you are interested.
 Julie-Anne Dietz
DEO Owner & Founder

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