woman lying down with her head on a pillow

4 Tips for Getting Great Sleep as You Recover from Surgery or Illness

How Home Health Care Services Help You Get Better Rest

Many people have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, but those who are recovering from surgery or illness find nighttime rest particularly challenging. This is a double-edged sword. Rest is a powerful tool for your healing and well-being, but your condition may prevent you from getting the sleep you need.

If you’re suffering from lack of sleep while at home after surgery or a health-related challenge, several strategies may be able to help. If you’re a family caregiver for a loved one, these tips might be useful for you to share as you help your family member recover. Try the following steps to promote better rest.

1. Start with Home Health Care When Recovering from Surgery or Illness

Home health care services are ordered by your physician when you need help from skilled healthcare professionals. This care may provide relief that promotes better sleep, especially if your recent illness or surgery is the reason for your restlessness.

You may be eligible for home health care if you’ve had a recent surgery, illness, injury, advancing diagnosis, or medication change. You must also be homebound. A homebound adult is unable to leave their home without assistance from another person or an assistive device, such as a wheelchair or walker, or who are advised not to leave their home during recovery.

After a doctor has ordered this service, you can ask for a home health care agency by name. The doctor’s order will determine which discipline will provide care at your home, including nursing, as well as occupational, physical, or speech therapy. Skilled professionals from these disciplines will dedicate themselves to ensuring you’re experiencing optimal conditions to get better and improve your quality of life, including care that encourages sleep.

2. Monitor Medications Prescribed for Recovery from Surgery or a Recent Illness

One of the biggest reasons patients recovering from surgery or illness get poor sleep is due to their medication regimen. You may be taking a medication that keeps you up at night. Or you may take a medicine that causes drowsiness and the desire to nap during the day, which makes it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime.

If you receive home health care, your nurse will ensure that you are taking your medications at the right time (e.g., not too early or not too late). If you are experiencing symptoms and side effects that are affecting your sleep, your home health care nurse will also provide insights on your condition for your doctor’s consideration.

3. Physical Therapy and Exercise While Recovering from Surgery

Physical activity is widely known to promote better sleep. If you are able, daily movement, such as a walk, or some other form of intentional movement can help you feel ready to go to bed at night.

Those who receive home health care services can get skilled support from a physical therapist after an injury, surgery, or fall, if their physician orders it. A physical therapist will recommend movements and exercises to promote healing and limit pain. This active and intentional routine may help you get sleep.

4. Establish a Regular Bedtime Routine

Doctors also recommend developing a regular sleep schedule to help you get better rest at night. The power of routine and preparing your body and mind for sleep can be very beneficial:

Yale Medicine Magazine recommends taking these actions consistently to help you get more rest:

  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Wake up at the same time every morning.
  • Create a peaceful, dark bedroom environment.
  • Develop bedtime “cues,” including taking a bath, putting on pajamas, and brushing your teeth.

A bedtime routine will help you mentally and physically prepare for rest, so you can continue to heal, whether you’re receiving home health care services or any other form of care.

5. Talk to Your Doctor About Your Emotional Needs

In some cases, doctors may suggest resources to address how you’re feeling emotionally, which can be an additional cause of sleeplessness. Many people recovering from surgery or illnesses experience increased anxiety and depression, which can also be exacerbated by a lack of sleep.

Physicians may recommend therapy where you can talk openly about your feelings, or they may provide mindfulness exercises, like meditation, mindful breathing, and more.

Take Care of Your Needs While You’re Recovering from Surgery or Illness

It is important to take good care of yourself when you’re focusing on your physical recovery. You deserve a good night’s rest, so you can heal. If you feel that you need more support than the strategies provided above, speak with your doctor to get further suggestions.

If you are receiving home health care, your team will find ways to ensure your recovery includes better sleep. Seek out a home health care provider that is known for its dedicated caregivers.

Discover more strategies for taking care of yourself or a loved one.

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