How much sleep do you need to get enough sleep, at different ages. The neurologist and the somnologist told

Why older people need less sleep

Is it true that you need less sleep as you get older?

It is believed that with age, a person needs less time to sleep, and its duration can decrease to five to six hours a day. Is it so? And how much sleep do you need depending on your age?

Yana Koperskaya

Yana Koperskaya

neurophysiologist, neurologist, expert of UniProf Medical Academy

The needs of the body change over time, including age-related changes in sleep.

How does age affect sleep?

The daily rhythm of sleep is disturbed. The main center that controls sleep and circadian rhythms is the hypothalamus (a special part of the brain that is involved in the regulation of blood circulation). With age, its function fades, including in relation to the regulation of the sleep/wake cycle.

Many diseases are accumulating. For example, anxiety disorders and depression, restless leg syndrome, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease – these and other ailments disrupt sleep. Plus, many older people are prone to anxiety and depression, especially those who are left alone or end up in nursing homes. This leads to disruption of falling asleep and the depth of sleep.

The way of life is changing. Including the amount of time a person is in contact with daylight. And this is important for the work of the hypothalamus and good sleep. Most older people move less and do not pay enough attention to intellectual tasks. In addition, when there is no need to go to work, there is a great temptation to get out of the regular schedule. And this, in turn, also exacerbates sleep problems. The same is true for freelancers who work from home.

What is the difference between the sleep of the young and the elderly?

Daria Lebedeva

Daria Lebedeva

somnologist, since 2017 member of the Russian Society of Somnologists

The more tired we are physically and mentally, the more deep sleep we need so that everything received during the day can be restored. Now imagine a day in the life of an old and young person. With age, increased fatigue appears and fatigue occurs even with minimal exertion. It turns out that a retired person needs to recover less, so nature gives him less deep sleep. Young people sit less, get more new information and sleep more.

For example, if we take a young person aged 20-30 years, then his lower limit of the norm of deep sleep will be approximately 19% and above. But for a 60-year-old – about 7.7%. The same applies to the number of awakenings – the older we get, the more often we wake up at night, as sleep becomes more sensitive and more superficial.

In the previous material, they told what will happen to the body if you do not sleep all night.



What happens to the body if you do not sleep all night
What happens to the body if you do not sleep all night

In addition, nighttime rest also worsens microsleep, when a person closes his eyes for several minutes, but during this time he manages to partially recover and spends the hormones responsible for “sleep pressure”. Meanwhile, the elderly tend to fall asleep at the TV or reading a book, on a bench in the park. Hence, the need for sleep, which occurs after fatigue, decreases.

How much sleep do you need depending on your age?

The younger the person, the more sleep he needs – seven to nine hours. With age, this figure decreases to six hours. But, in addition to average norms, there is also an individual norm, this must be remembered. Those who get four to five hours of sleep will sleep even less as they age. The same goes for those who sleep 12 hours a day: the amount of deep sleep will decrease over time.

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