It’s a widespread assumption that people of old age need fewer sleep. The science is unclear: on the one hand there are studies which prove that by the age of 20 it is clear whether one needs a lot of sleep or few sleep. Other studies prove that people of old age need fewer sleep. Only one thing is certain: when getting older the phases of sleep change.
Sufficient healthy sleep is essential at all ages
When falling asleep without any problems, sleeping through and not waking up too early, we are feeling fresh and powerful in the morning. But, all of a sudden your sleep becomes much less. Soon, you will experience a reduction of productivity; your vitality and health suffer. Therefore, you should take sleeping difficulties serious and do something about them at all age, in advanced age as well.
US scientists have examined the phenomenon of sleeping through disturbances of elder people. When examining about 200 people in the age from 60 to 90 years the scientists found out that independent from age, sex or health the death risk was twice as high when the test persons lay awake for more than half an hour during the night.
On the other hand, there is a British study that reveals that older people actually do well with fewer sleep than in younger years.
One thing is crystal clear, even when science is not quite coherent about sleep duration: the share of phases of deep sleep decreases when getting older. The night’s rest becomes more superficial and more prone to disturbances like noise; people wake up more easily. Unfortunately, it is a fact that the sleeping quality of elder people frequently worsens. 30 to 50 per cent of people 60+ get insufficient sleep and rest at night.
Meanwhile, different sleep scientists have determined more than 100 different sleep disturbances. Therefore, the causes are not always easy to find out. But undisputedly, independent from age the sleeping quality significantly increases when some important facts regarding the own bed, the bedding content and sleep surrounding are considered.