Outline and evaluate lifespan changes in sleep (8+16)
As humans grow from infancy to old age there are major changes in the amount and kind of sleep experienced. Babies sleep for about 16 hours a day, though not continuously, though waking up every hour or so because of their shorter sleep cycle compared to an adult 90 minute cycle.
They experience two types of sleep; active and quiet sleep which are versions of REM and SWS. Approximately half is spent in the active REM sleep during which they grow. By 6 months most children have one main-sleep cycle with a few naps during the day.
During early childhood children typically sleep about 12 hours a day and EEG patterns begin to resemble adult patterns. Their sleep cycles are around 70 minutes with around 30% REM. Boys sleep more than girls and it is not uncommon for children to experience a variety of parasomnias such as walking or nightmares
Later in adolescence the need for sleep decreases to around 9-10 hours. Circadian trough shifts commonly go forward in adolescents (known as phase delay) so that adolescents go to bed later and find it harder waking up in the morning.
Lastly in adulthood and old age an average sleep requirement is 8 hours a night, with 25% in REM sleep. Though childhood parasomnias such as sleep walking are much rarer, there is an increasing frequency of other sleep disorders such as insomnia and apnoea.
With increasing age, older people have less REM sleep (20%) and have more difficulty going to sleep and wake up more frequently during the night; the phase delay is also apparent with elderly people meaning that they feel sleepier in the evening and wake up earlier.
There are issues with the research upon lifespan changes because they have been largely conducted upon British and American samples leading to an…