The Side Effects of Being a Caregiver – Insomnia.

Here’s the second post in a series about the numerous side effects of being a caregiver. I gave a short list of many of the side effects I’ve experienced in my journey in last week’s post where I highlighted a recent struggle with hair loss, and the ways I’ve combated this ridiculousness.

The next most common side effect I’ve experienced related to being a caregiver has been insomnia. Part of this is absolutely related to caring for 8 children, and part of it, I’m sure, has to do with this lovely stage of life I’m currently in called peri-menopause.

Now given, I am the most OCD sleeper on the planet, and I hate this facet of my personality. I am way too in my head and really struggle to sleep outside of my normal environment or routine.  I am extremely envious of people who can sleep anywhere and everywhere but this is not my reality.

A few things that I must do before going to bed.

First, good nights and hugs for the kids, read Annabelle a story, and give Luke his meds. Draw the room darkening shades and curtains. I require pitch black  in order to sleep. Then I do 15-20 minutes of restorative yoga, take a warm bath with Epsom salts (I like these)

and take one willow bark – a natural Advil alternative




and one  L-theanine which is good for relaxation and gut health.



After my bath, I take two of these magnesium supplements which I have found to be hands down the most helpful in my journey towards natural sleep preparation. In fact, I ran out of this particular brand for about two weeks, and I used another brand which I had on hand, and I kid you not, I did not sleep very well.  This brand is AMAZING.


I really, really try to avoid Advil or Benedryl because I know they’re not great for me or my liver.

And, at 9:30, it’s time for  yogi tea mixed with Reishi mushroom – both which have a calming effect on my racing mind and take approximately 30 minutes to kick in and then it’s lights out at 10:00 p.m.!

I’d say the tea and mushroom put me to sleep quickly and the triple calm magnesium keeps me asleep (for the most part) and last but not least, I rub tiger balm on my hips which have been aching since giving birth to my baby 5 years ago!  Get some here. 



That’s it. My extremely OCD sleep routine which is admittedly ridiculous, but I can’t function without sleep – especially as a caregiver to 8 children. Yes, I’ve tried Valerian and Melatonin. Both give me weird dreams. Maybe this routine will help someone else in need of a solid night of sleep.

Just keep livin!



(This post does contain affiliate links which I may receive compensation for).

The Side Effects of Being a Caregiver – Hair Loss

The majority of special needs caregivers I’ve met or talked to throughout the years have mentioned negative side effects related to being a caregiver. Some are mild such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or weight fluctuations, and other symptoms are not so mild and can land a caregiver on the road to rehabilitation for months, if not years. This was the story for Vance Goforth, a caregiver I recently interviewed on my podcast Coffee with Caregivers.–Vance-and-Kristy-Goforth-ejfd4t He suffered from a heart attack due to the stress associated with caring for his son Joshua who has profound special needs and autism.

Statistically, 30% of special needs caregivers admit that being a caregiver has worsened their health. 43% report experiencing high stress and 26% say that their health is fair to poor (compared to 15% of the general public) source – National Alliance for Caregiving.
I’ve personally experienced numerous side effects from being a caregiver – not only to Luke but to 7 other children as well. I don’t believe that every symptom is directly related to the stress of care giving, but I do believe that most can be attributed to the stress of life which involves caring for 8 children; including one with profound special needs which has resulted in a much more difficult reality over the past couple of years.

I’ve had IBS, weight loss, weight gain, panic attacks, brain fog, insomnia, cystic acne, a sty that wouldn’t go away for months, facial twitching, achy joints, candida overgrowth, leaky gut, eczema, wrinkles (lots!) mental health struggles, depression, racing heart, jitters, and the most recently, hair loss. Yep, for a few months during Covid my hair was falling out in chunks and leaving bald spots behind. Not good.

I believe it began when Luke ended up in ER in December 2019 due to a shunt malfunction. He finally returned to school mid February and then was released from school indefinitely in March due to a worldwide pandemic. He and his 7 siblings all released and now home 24/7. This was one of the most difficult times of my life – even more so on many levels than my late husband’s 3 year battle with cancer. It was around the end of April that I noticed the large chunks of hair falling out every time I brushed. Or took a shower. Or even simply shook my head, and I freaked out. I seriously thought, “This is it. I’m going bald.”

Of course I did what anyone would do and immediately headed to Google which confirmed my worst fears. Yes, high amounts of stress over a prolonged period of life can cause hair loss BUT – within 6-9 months of the stress being remedied the hair loss should diminish and growth should return. I gave myself about 6 months to total baldness because I had no idea how I was going to relieve my stress levels in my current reality.

However – I did start to research and put a plan in place.

My plan included:

A good pre–natal vitamin. Heck, this supplement gave me lush, beautiful locks when I was pregnant. Maybe it could help now too. Get yours 



Biotin Serum. I used this twice a week after I washed my hair (which I only did twice a week to maintain the natural oils that I desperately needed at this point). Buy now


Biotin vitamins. Took these daily. Purchase here



A new biotin, vitamin infused anti -thinning shampoo and conditioner. These are a bit pricey but a tiny bit goes a long ways.  I still have more than half remaining after a few months of usage. These are worth every penny if I do say so myself. Get yours. 



I started this plan in May, and by the beginning of September, my hair had greatly improved to the point where felt I could comfortably get a few highlights again – something I had been avoiding due to the hair loss. I no longer have chucks falling out, and in fact, the sparse areas on my head are beginning to grow back. All the hallelujahs.

Maybe this information can help someone else – caregiver or not. No one enjoys hair loss! Right?!

Just keep livin!

(This post does contain affiliate links)


You Have to Grieve Normal








You have to grieve normal
I advised as she cried
You have to grieve normal
Or you’ll feel like you’ve died

He’s not what you wanted?
She’s broken, you say?
He’s medically fragile
She can’t learn to play?

Rage, wail and sob
Shake your fist at the sky
Wrestle with the Almighty
And beg for a why!

Cry in the shower
Breathe through the fear
Don’t abandon yourself
And keep your loves near

Let company in
Lest misery take a toll
Eat food and sip wine
It’s good for the soul

Smile if you can
If you can’t, no big deal
They’ll be brighter days
Brighter days when you heal

These children are God’s lessons
I don’t say this in vain
These children will teach us
Through all of the pain

That life is much more
than pride, looks, or wealth
Life is joy, peace, & love
Kindness and health

So take a deep breath
You’ve got this, I swear
For the Almighty appointed you
A fierce mama bear ❤️

A Special Needs Mama

A special needs mama
Is weary in her soul
Day after day
Has taken its toll

Years of sleepless nights
Many thankless jobs
The constant demands
And heart wrenching sobs

The daily needs grind her
Almost to the bone
The exhaustion, the diapers,
all of the unknown

A son she prayed for
Who’s unruly and wild
A son she prayed for
Who’s misunderstood as a child

But wipe her tears she must
And get on with the day
For duty calls again
Duty – without pay.

The phone calls, the letters,
She’s desperate for a break
Why don’t they help?
She thinks, for goodness sake.

She’ll make them see
She’ll make them care
She’ll share her story
Cuz she’s a mama bear

A special needs mama possess a strength
To rise up and fight when others will shrink
A yell or a whisper, a plea or a shout
She’ll do whatever it takes to get past all the doubt

At first, barely a word
And then gaining in power
She’ll tell of her trials
Without nary a cower

She’ll advocate, scream,
pound her fist if she must
She’ll stare down the judge
leaving him in the dust.

Cuz that’s how change happens
With boldness and brawn
That’s how change happens
To usher in a new dawn

So raise your voice mama bears
Raise them loud and be bold
For change only comes
When we don’t do what we’re told.

just keep livin.