- how aging affects our sleep?
- what are the changes in our body that impacts sleep?
- how much sleep do you need?
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Aging – The Big Sleep Checkup
A common knowledge that you will find in books and the internet is that we need less sleep when we age.
But is this actually true?
The common misconception
Actually it is a common misconception that we need less sleep when we get older. Though there are sources that suggest that we need less sleep (e.g. the numbers of the national sleep foundation) – there are good reasons to question this.
The biggest source of failure here is that these numbers do not clearly identify the cause of sleep deprivation. If aging people sleep less on average because of snoring or any other health issue – the assumption that we need less sleep seems vague.
What really changes
But of course, there are things changing and these things can have an impact on our sleep.
The main thing is that our sleep architecture can change. This means that you may get tired earlier than you used to and therefore have the need to rise earlier.
Furthermore getting older also often lets us appreciate a good nap after lunch. Doing so will reduce the need for sleep at night.
Next comes the need to go to the toilet at night that may call us out of bed, leaving us with a hard time to fall asleep again.
The amount of sleep you need should stay more or less steady during the aging period. As our sleep architecture changes the total amount of sleep can be more distributed over the course of the day (e.g. having a nap after lunch). Likewise, the time when we want to go to bed and get up can change due to changes in our inner clock.
Also, things like the need for going to the toilet at night, snoring and other sleep-disturbing health issues occur more often the older we get.
Keep this in mind and consult a doctor if you feel bad even though getting the hours of sleep that you need.
As long as you feel energized during the daytime, there is nothing to do. And this is true even if your personal sleep duration changed over the last few years.
Have a superb sleep!