The greatest advantage of post-acute rehabilitation in a great rehab center is the top-notch medical care provided. That being said, a resident who is staying in the rehab center for a number of days or weeks might have a sleep-challenge. The patient is not in their own home, the environment is different. It takes most of us a little while to acclimatize to a new place. You or your loved one may need to find sleep solutions for a patient in a rehab center.
Factors that can Contribute to a Better Night’s Sleep
Let’s look at some of the factors that can contribute to a better night’s sleep.
A study carried out in a in a post-acute rehabilitation setting found that daytime sleeping, as opposed to sleeping sufficiently at night, was associated with a slower recovery.
We can suggest that taking a short nap during the day can give strength to make it through the day. The main sleep should be at night. What is a short nap? Anything from 6 minutes to about 30 minutes.
Light therapy can help a person get their internal sleep clock functioning correctly again.
Essential sleep practice includes:
- Sleeping in a position that will optimize good breathing and good circulation. This must be discussed with the doctor or surgeon.
- Use of supportive pillows can help getting into a good sleeping position. Depending on the issue from which the patient is recovering, as an example, they may need to sleep with the chest or the legs propped up, or an arm supported.
- If spending a lot of time in bed, change positions often (or ask a nurse to change the position frequently) to avoid bedsores.
For some, the background noises in an institution is calming, possibly because it counteracts a feeling of loneliness. However, there are many seniors who wish for more quiet when they want to sleep.
Subject to medical approval, a patient could try using ear plugs to block out the noise, or earphones with soft music or relaxing noises playing.
An object that ‘smells of home’ could help replace the way that an institution smells different.
People with a strong olfactory sense might enjoy these calming scents before bedtime: Lavender, chamomile, bergamot, jasmine or rose.
Soft lighting relaxes a person and can get them ready for sleep.
Avoid using your smartphone, if possible an hour or two before bedtime. The blue light given off by digital devices can disturb sleep.
Apparently, second-best to complete darkness, a nightlight giving off a reddish light is recommended for promoting sleep!
Physical and emotional comfort means different things, to different people. Here are a few suggestions. Feel free to add your own ideas. The aim is to make a sleep environment that is most conducive to a good night’s sleep.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Read a relaxing or encouraging text before turning in.
- Listen to or practice a relaxation exercise before bedtime.
- Subject to your personal medical issue, use a soft, cozy blanket or a comforting foot warmer.
- For some, taking a shower before bed or even washing the hands and face with warm water with bring an irreplaceable feeling of freshness and comfort.
- Eat well, as much as you can manage, during the day time. If your appetite is doing poorly following surgery, have smaller, more frequent meals. When a patient eats they should make every bite count. Down with sugary snacks , up with protein! Down with empty calories, up with well thought out choices!
- Drink sufficiently, the amount of water recommended by the doctor. Drink most of the water in the morning hours, and less in the evening, to avoid multiple nocturnal trips to the bathroom.
- Avoid heavy food shortly before bedtime.
- Avoid prior to bedtime and in general too: caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
When finding sleep solutions for a patient in a rehab center a person might have to get creative. As a patient searches for ways to improve their sleep in a post-acute rehab setting, they might discover solutions that they never thought of previously.
Every cloud has a silver lining, even when exploring sleep solutions for a patient in a rehab center.