How Much Sleep DO Older People Need?

The long held belief is that as you get older, you need less sleep.  A new study is disputing that claim.  According to a story this week in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, researchers at the University of California in San Diego reported at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference (the source of the plethora of sleep news this week) that their study of two groups — one with an average age of 27 and one with an average age of 68 — indicated that both groups were affected by losing sleep.  Each group was monitored in a sleep lab on how much they slept, and how well they slept.

For the older group, it was the amount of sleep they got that had a ‘significant influence’ on brain function the following day, [said Dr Sean Drummond, a psychologist at the UC San Diego].

‘The more sleep last night, the more efficient brain function is today and the better they are able to learn and remember new material,’ he said.

‘Whereas in young adults, the amount of sleep they get isn’t so important.’

What matters more is that sleep is consolidated into a solid chunk, allowing the brain to act as ‘a dry sponge, ready to absorb and learn new information’.

Dr Drummond said older people need as much time in bed as the young but often they simply get used to having less.

Here at SleepBetter, we don’t worry a lot about age.  The fact is that everyone needs a good night’s rest, no matter how old they are.  Check out our articles about sleep tips to get some advice that might just help YOU sleep better!