The nature of sleep and lifespan changes



  • Sleep a lot more than children
  • Have different sleep patterns and different stages of sleep
  • Sleep about 16 hours a day but their sleep is not continuous
  • Usually wake up every hour or so because their sleep cycles are shorter than the adult 90 minute cycle 
  • They have quiet sleep and active sleep - these are immature versions of SWS and REM sleep
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Infancy Continued

  • There is more active sleep than adult REM sleep
  • About half of infant sleep is spent in active sleep
  • Infants enter sleep through an initial period of light sleep - after twenty minutes they gradually enter deep sleep.
  • By the age of six months a circadian rhythm has been established.
  • By age one infants are sleeping mainly at night with one or two naps during the day
  • periods of sleep lengthen - reduction of the amount of REM sleep
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  • By the age of five children have EEG patterns that look like those of an adult
  • Still sleeping about 12 hours per day
  • Having more REM activity - 30% of total sleep time
  • Boys sleep slightly more than girls
  • Not uncommon for children to experience a variety of sleep disorders
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  • Need for sleep increases - 9-10 hours a night
  • Circadian rhythms also change so that teenagers feel naturally more awake later at night and have more difficulty getting up earlier - Phase delay
  • REM sleep in males is sometimes accompanied by ****** and *********** which is significantly less likely at other ages
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  • "Normal" adult sleep - 8 hours per night
  • 25% in REM sleep
  • Childhood sleep disorders are rare
  • increasing frequency of other sleep disorders such as insomnia
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Old Age

  • Total sleep time remains about the same
  • Older people have difficulty going to sleep and wake up more frequently
  • They may have a nap during the day to satisfy their sleep needs
  • REM sleep decreases to about 20%
  • SWS reduced to as little as 5%
  • Older people experience phase advance - feeling sleepier early in the evening and wake up earlier
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