Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Older people may need less sleep, study finds

25.07.2008
Along with all the other changes that come with age, healthy older people also lose some capacity for sleep, according to a new report in Current Biology (24 July).

When asked to stay in bed for 16 hours in the dark each day for several days, younger people get an average of 9 hours of shuteye compared to 7.5 for older people, the researchers report.

“The most parsimonious explanation for our results is that older people need less sleep,” said Elizabeth Klerman of Brigham and Women’s Hospital & Harvard Medical School, who conducted the study with Professor Derk-Jan Dijk of the University of Surrey. “It’s also possible that they sleep less even when given the opportunity for more sleep because of age-related changes in the ability to fall asleep and remain asleep,” she added, noting that the new results apply only to healthy individuals taking no medication and having no medical conditions or sleep disorders.

The study also found that most healthy people, and young people in particular, don’t get as much sleep as they need.

The idea that sleep changes markedly across the life span isn’t new. In fact, insomnia is a common complaint amongst older people. But whether age-related changes in sleep are due to changes in social factors, circadian rhythms, or shifts in the an internal “set point” for sleep need or the ability to sleep had remained unresolved.

In the new study, Klerman and Dijk set out to compare the capacity for sleep in young people (between the ages of 18 and 32) compared to older people (age 60 to 72) under conditions that controlled for circadian rhythms by allowing the chance to sleep both during the night and day and by controlling individual choices in sleep opportunities.

“While humans can sometimes override the homeostatic set point and not sleep when tired, there is no evidence that they can sleep when they are not tired,” Klerman explained.

Given the same amount of time in bed, older people take longer to fall asleep and sleep for less time than younger people do, they found. When required to remain in bed for 16 hours a day, older people slept 1.5 hours less on average than younger people, they showed. That age-related decline in sleep included an even split between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated with dreaming, and non-REM sleep, they found.

The findings may influence treatment for insomnia in older people, Klerman said.
“If older people believe that they need more sleep than they can achieve even when they spend extra time in bed, then they may complain of insomnia: being awake when wanting to be asleep. They may start using medications needlessly. If they are tired during the day, they should consider evaluation for a sleep disorder that may be interfering with their ability to obtain good sleep at night”

Stuart Miller | alfa
Further information:
http://www.surrey.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global threat to primates concerns us all

19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Scientist from Kiel University coordinates Million Euros Project in Inflammation Research

19.01.2017 | Awards Funding

The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents

19.01.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>