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Practical support

Sleep disturbance

Lack of sleep is a problem for many carers. Sleep disturbance can have many causes, such as having to care for someone who wakes at night or is unable to get to the toilet. The day-to-day worry and stress of being a carer can be another factor in disturbed sleep.

Lack of sleep will leave you feeling tired throughout the day and will make it difficult for you to concentrate or make decisions. If this continues over a prolonged period of time it can seriously affect your health.

If you think you have insomnia, you can find useful information in the Health A-Z pages on insomnia. You might also want to read these 10 tips on beating insomnia. If you have a child who has difficulty sleeping, read these tips on children’s sleep.

If you feel that you aren't getting enough sleep you may want to speak to your GP. Your doctor can talk to you about your sleeplessness and make sure there aren’t any underlying health conditions that are causing it.

If your lack of sleep is being caused by the person you care for you should mention it at your carer's assessment. Your local authority may be able to arrange alternative care. This alternative care can include night-sitting services, where someone will come to your home to care for the person you look after, letting you have a proper night’s sleep.

Friends and family may be able to help out occasionally to give you a break. You may also find it helpful to speak to other carers about your problems. Other carers can offer kindness, sympathy, understanding and advice, and they can make you feel less isolated. See Peer support for further details.

If you want to discuss sleep disruption or other caring issues, you can call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053, or submit a question to Carers Direct by email.

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Page last reviewed: 25/07/2014

Next review due: 25/07/2016

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

Confidential information and advice for carers.

Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Request a free call back or an interpreted call back in one of more than 170 languages including ربي, বাংলা, 中文, Français, ગુજરાતી, Polski, Português, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Soomaali, Español, Türkçe and .اردو.

You can talk to an adviser live online or send a query by email.

Find out more about the Carers Direct helpline.

'Sleep made me anxious'

Jane was unable to sleep for days at a time, and medication wasn't helping. She was desperate

Moodzone: Sleep problems

Dr Chris Williams explains what you can do to give yourself the best chance of a good night's sleep. This podcast is one of an eight-part series for Moodzone.

Media last reviewed: 14/02/2013

Next review due: 14/02/2015