Get Better Sleep this Season

Caregivers in Indianapolis, INGreat Care knows the positive role sleeping well has on our health, especially as we age. In May, Better Sleep Month raises awareness about the benefits of better sleep.

And how poor sleep can disrupt our lives.

“As with diet and exercise, sleep is crucial to our physical, emotional and mental health,” says the Better Sleep Council, a nonprofit organization devoted to educating the public about the importance of sleep. “Refreshing sleep is of huge importance when staying healthy.”

Better Sleep Month encourages people to establish better sleeping patterns. According to the Better Sleep Council, inadequate sleep leads to an increase in blood pressure and stress hormone production.

“The body can become stressed when it does not get enough sleep,” the BSC says. “The consequences of poor sleep include reduced concentration, mood swings, irritability, stress, and a weakened immune system. The release of stress hormones can also make it harder to sleep, perpetuating an unhealthy sleep cycle.”

The body’s physical changes from aging are also a factor in affecting sleep patterns, and is a part of the normal aging process, says the National Sleep Foundation.

“As people age they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger,” says the NSF. “It is a common misconception that sleep needs decline with age. In fact, research demonstrates that our sleep needs remain constant throughout adulthood.”

On its website, the National Sleep Foundation, answers the question, so what’s keeping seniors awake? According to the NSF, changes in the patterns of our sleep – what specialists call ‘sleep architecture’ – occur as we age and this may contribute to sleep problems.

“Sleep occurs in multiple stages including dreamless periods of light and deep sleep, and occasional periods of active dreaming (REM sleep),” the foundation says. “The sleep cycle is repeated several times during the night and although total sleep time tends to remain constant, older people spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep than in deep sleep.”

The National Sleep Foundation notes that older adults, but certainly not all, have reported to be less satisfied with sleep and more tired during the day.

“Studies on the sleep habits of older Americans show an increase in the time it takes to fall asleep (sleep latency), an overall decline in REM sleep, and an increase in sleep fragmentation (waking up during the night) with age,” the NSF says.

“The prevalence of sleep disorders also tends to increase with age. However, research suggests that much of the sleep disturbance among the elderly can be attributed to physical and psychiatric illnesses and the medications used to treat them.”

How much sleep is needed, on average? The Better Sleep Council says many experts believe between 7.5 and 8.5 hours of sleep a night is optimal.

“However, better sleep does not refer to just the length of time we sleep,” the council reports. “Better sleep is quality sleep … 6 hours of deep refreshing sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours of light interrupted sleep.”

The Better Sleep Council offers these tips for better sleep:

• Establish a consistent sleep schedule by sleeping at the same time each day of the week (including weekends).

• Relax before sleeping. Prior to sleep, limit any stimulating activities such as exercise and work. Perform activities that you may find relaxing such as reading.

• Create an optimal sleeping environment. Your place of sleep should be dark, ventilated and of an appropriate temperature. Black out blinds can help seal out light in area. If possible, remove any distractions such as computers and TVs from the room. Ensure your bedding is of adequate quality and there is enough space in the bed if you share the bed with a partner (or a pet!).

• A healthy lifestyle consisting of exercise and a healthy diet can contribute towards better sleep. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine close to bed time. While alcohol may help some people to relax, it can disrupt sleep throughout the night.

For more information on Better Sleep Month, visit the Better Sleep Council Website.

Find more about better sleep at the National Sleep Foundation.


The professionals at Great Care are available to talk with you and your family about all of your home care needs, including respite care. Great Care is a non medical in-home care agency providing quality and affordable elder care in Fishers, IN and the surrounding areas. Call (888) 240-9101 for more information.

About Julie S.

Julie Sullivan is the Owner at Great Care of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Great Care is a licensed, personal services agency, providing in-home care services to the Indianapolis, Indiana and surrounding areas. We serve the personal health and daily care needs of seniors or individuals who prefer to stay at home, but require assistance with everyday activities, such as dressing, personal hygiene, meal preparation, laundry or errands. Our team of certified nurse aids and home health aids can provide you with personalized, in-home care services to meet your needs, including:
• Daytime hourly in-home care
• Temporary or post-hospital respite care
• 24-hour, around-the-clock home care
• Morning and evening care
• Overnight / Slumber care
In addition, we offer our Care Compass service, to assist in setting the course for the next stage in your loved ones life. We guide you through the currents of aging, and help you find your true north. Our licensed nurses, with experience in hospice and geriatric care, will help guide you through the complex and often sensitive journey of selecting an in-home care service, and will provide a smooth transition to a new way of life for your loved one, without the anxiety and fear.
Our current nursing and management team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the home healthcare services industry. All of our caregivers are bonded, insured and screened thoroughly, so you know you’ll be receiving the greatest care possible. That’s why we stand by our mission: to deliver the same, quality care we expect for ourselves and our loved ones.