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.
Stuart Miller | alfa
Self-organising system enables motile cells to form complex search pattern
07.05.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Mouse studies show minimally invasive route can accurately administer drugs to brain
02.05.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2019 | Life Sciences