Does Sleep Change With Age?
There’s nothing quite like waking up well rested after a full night of sleep. For some people, that’s 10 hours and, for others, it’s only 6. Whatever amount of sleep you need, it likely depends on your age.
We typically need less and less sleep as we age. This coincides with the rate at which we’re growing during the earlier periods in our lives. While the amount of sleep you need varies between every person, there are certain stages that are pretty typical for each age group.
Read on to see how much sleep you should be getting.
As we go through different stages in our lives, we need varying amounts of sleep to continue to grow and function normally.
Newborns (0-3 months) need 16 to 18 hours of sleep per 24 hours, taking short naps throughout the day and night. To many parents’ dismay, they wake several times throughout the night because they don’t have a stable sleep pattern quite yet.
Infants (4-12 months) are typically accustomed to a day and night sleep pattern, sleeping about 10 to 12 hours per night with short naps throughout the day. This brings their total sleep to an average of 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours.
Toddlers (1-2 years) finally start to sleep longer at night with fewer naps throughout the day. At this point, they should be sleeping about 11 to 14 hours per 24 hours. Typically, toddlers only take about one nap per day.
Preschool (3-5 years) is when children start to show signs of “night owl” or “early bird” habits. The important thing is that they develop good, consistent sleep habits. At this time, they should be sleeping 10 to 13 hours every 24 hours with the occasional nap.
School-age (6-12 years) is around the time when kids start to have increased obligations towards school and extracurriculars which may affect their sleep schedule. Regardless, they should be getting 9 to 12 hours of sleep per night, spending more time in REM sleep.
Teens (13-18 years) typically start to stay up later than they did prior because their circadian rhythms shift to only needing 8 to 10 hours of sleep. The teenage years are a formative period where the brain and body need plenty of sleep to continue to develop properly.
Adults (19-64) are full-grown and only need at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Since their brains and bodies are mostly done developing, they will get less deep and dream sleep over time.
Seniors (65 & Older) get much less REM sleep as their brains are no longer developing and they experience more sleep disturbances. This means they may have a harder time getting to sleep and staying asleep. Certain issues like pain, discomfort, nighttime urination, and daytime drowsiness can affect their quality of sleep. Luckily, there are certain actions you can take to feel more well-rested if you’re in the 65 & over crowd.
Seniors and Sleep
While some older adults have no problem sleeping throughout the night, many people struggle with getting less sleep due to disruptions. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce sleep disruptions.
Older people who exercise regularly experience a number of benefits including better sleep quality, lower risk of dementia, and better muscle memory. Try out daily exercise and see if it helps you fall asleep faster.
Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule
The older you get, the tougher it is to recover from lost sleep. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time to avoid sudden changes in your sleep schedule. That includes avoiding taking longer naps!
Use Quality Bedding
Quality bedding is essential to quality sleep. If your bedding is cheap, you’ll likely be scratchy and sweaty all night. Invest in cooling sheets and pillows to make sure you’re sleeping well. For extra softness and comfort, try bamboo sheets!
Avoid Substances That Affect Your Sleep Schedule
Certain substances, like cigarettes, caffeine, and alcohol, can affect your sleep schedule and quality of sleep. We don’t expect you to quit these altogether, but it would be helpful to limit your intake so your body’s circadian rhythm can take over.
Try out these easy tips to increase your sleep quality and general life quality! While you’re getting started making these lifestyle changes, don’t forget to get quality bed sheets to upgrade your bedroom into an oasis made for blissful sleep.
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