How age affects your sleep

Contributor 8 Min Read

As you’ve already realized, you don’t sleep as long and as often as you used to. Don’t worry; it happens to all of us. However, there is a minimum amount of sleep time recommended for each age group. Sleep is essential for every human being. In fact, your body function begins to break down when you do not get enough sleep. It doesn’t matter how young you are or how old you’ve gotten, sleep deprivation and its effects do not discriminate.

Let’s take a look at how different sleep is for adults as compared to younger individuals.

A change in your daily sleep requirements

Research suggests we spend around one-third of our life sleeping. Imagine that! About 33 percent of your life spent asleep. It’s not just a waste of time. Sleep plays a vital role in repair and cares for our bodies. This is the only time the body gets to rest from all the exhausting tasks you have subjected yourself to. Throughout the different phases of sleep, your body utilizes various systems to conduct many tasks. You’re not only healing or repairing,  but your brain is also improving aspects of your memory, learning, and even emotions.

Sleep tip: Because of the varying sleep requirements, middle-aged adults are advised to get about 8 hours of sleep, adolescents are recommended 11 hours while young children should get a minimum average of 12 hours. This way, you will be able to function properly throughout the day.

Cutting down on Naptime

sleeping or feeding

Remember those Preschool nap times you probably hated, but later found out were pretty great? Well, those are what I like to call the golden years for napping. As your sleep needs and internal clock shifts to a different schedule, so does your tendency to take naps. Infants are famous for their constant eat-sleep cycles. In fact, for most of their early lives, Newborns are usually sleeping or feeding. They typically spend about 20 hours just sleeping. That means they’re probably napping for most of the day. This changes acutely as you progress through the years. If you recall, your desire and even ability to take naps during the day have diminished the older you have grown. Because the number of sleep hours you require becomes fewer as you grow older, your body can attain all the sleep you need in a night’s session. No wonder the cut back on those afternoon siestas.

Fun fact: In some cultures, napping is considered a daily routine for people of all ages. It is done especially on hot afternoons when your brain is most likely to succumb to the drive to sleep.

More money, more problems

More money

As a child, minimal stress factors are affecting your sleep as compared to adulthood. The older you become, the more things you have to think about and tasks you have to accomplish. These stress factors usually interfere with sleep and cause a significant difference between adults and younger peoples to sleep behavior. With all these responsibilities and requirements o adulthood, many people find it hard even to reach the recommended daily sleep requirement. I mean, why sleep when you can reply to those work emails or prepare for that meeting tomorrow. Sometimes these situations cannot be helped. However, you must take it upon yourself to ensure your sleep time is protected. Because of the significant sleep carries in your life, you might not want to ignore bedtime or shove it to the side like you usually do. You can pull the occasional whole nighters but make sure your sleep habits and patterns are consistent and healthy. This way, you are protected from sleep deprivation and its horrible effects.

Impending disorders


The older you get, the higher the risk of developing sleep-associated disorders. These conditions are not exclusive to adults or the elderly. Age, however, plays a critical role as a risk factor for many of these disorders. It is not the only cause. A combination of other innate and environmental factors contributes to the development of these conditions. Take sleep apnea for example, the older you are, coupled with other factors such as weight, heredity, and lifestyle, the higher you are at risk of developing this condition.

You might have a significant other

Whether it’s a husband, a girlfriend, or a buddy who likes to share your bed, age comes with a bedmate. Most of the time, you find your sleeping habits must adjust to the other party present. You may have to switch up your positions, nighttime routine, or even bedtime schedule. In the quest to accommodate your partner, you stand the risk of altering your sleep patterns. This is quite different from sleep as a younger you.

Sleep tip: When making arrangements for your new bedmate, remember not to make their needs a priority over yours. Sleep is as essential to you as it is to them. Neither of you should have to suffer on account of the other party. Instead, meet each other halfway so the both of you can have an optimized sleeping experience with minimal if any interruptions.

Does everything change?

Many aspects of your sleep will change as you grow older. Your sleep quality should, however, remain constant. Whatever you do, ensure to gain and maintain good quality sleep every night. You can achieve this by setting up a suitable sleeping environment that will have you in dreamland within seconds. With the right arrangements, you should enjoy uninterrupted sleep sessions, regardless of your age.

Depending on your sleep needs and preferences, some aspects must change. A good mattress, for example, is essential for every sleeper. As you age, you might require more support or help with those aches and pains, something you can get with the right mattress and pillows. Finding the right choice could be as easy as going through Denver mattress and all their variable options.

Final word

Healthy sleep is important no matter how old you are. Evidently, the older you get, the fewer hours of sleep you need. However, you may want to take advantage of your daily recommended hours. In this time, your body goes through that much needed TLC and gets ready for the following day.

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