Lifespan changes in sleep

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  • Lifespan changes in sleep
    • it has been suggested that our sleep changes throughout our life-
      • Ohayan researched this in a 65-study meta-analysis on sleeping patterns and found that total seep time reduced by 100 minutes between the age on 5-70; time spent in stage 1&2 N-REM increased 1%  to 6.8% at age 70; stage 3 decreased dramatically from 24% at age 5 to 9% at age 70; and time spent in REM reduced from 24% to 19% at age 70
        • supported by Floyd- who found a decrease in REM OF 0.6% per decade
        • however Ohayan could not distinguish all confounding variables (e.g. race) which may impact results
    • the sleep cycle is an ultradian rythem consisting of a 5 stages- stage 1&2 light N-REM, stage 3&4 deep N-REM and REM
    • on average we sleep 7.5 hours a night and go through around 5 cycles
    • Babies
      • sleep for around 16-20 hours per day- 50% of which is REM (McCarly)
        • Acebo- at around age 3 the adult sleeping pattern is established at 9 hours of sleep per day when the body and external environment synchronize
    • Adolescents
      • in adolescence changes in sleep occur due to changing social pressures and parental influence
        • Crowley et al- suggested that sleep patterns vary depending on the school year- term time sleep is interrupted by extracurricular activities e.g. like watching TV- however extra sleep at weekends results in 'jet lag' and poor performance
        • Dahl- found a decrease in REM and deep N-REM  but no change in sleep time overall in teens entering puberty
        • Coren- named adolescent sleep as 'chronic sleep deprivation'
    • Adults
      • Plat et al- time spent in very deep sleep drops 20% to 5% between the ages of 25-35
        • this may be linked to the release of human growth hormone in stage 3+4 (people woken in this stage in lab experiments complained of joint problems the following day)
      • after age 50 total sleep time reduces by 27 minutes per decade
      • Crowley et al- older adults have increased waking at night due to reduced amount of sleep spindles (things that reduce the brains response to external stimuli)
        • supported by Webb
      • older adults also display a decrease in deep N-REM- linked to restoration
        • dementia patients also display lack of deep N-REM and struggle with normal brain function- restoration
    • culturally bias; cant eliminate individual differences; deterministic; focus on 'nature'


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