Does sleep really shorten when we get older?

Does sleep really shorten when we get older? In Japan recently, there have been many educational campaigns and lectures on sleep hygiene and sleep medicine. Such activities are very helpful for many people, especially those with sleep problems, to better understand their disorders and to guide them to appropriate treatment. However, some information frequently offered about sleep and sleep need could be misleading, and should be better justified. Of particular concern is the issue of sleep length in elderly people. Sleep length across development and aging was first detailed by Roffwarg et al . Their data originally suggested that sleep time becomes shorter when we get older. However, it can frequently be observed that across 24 h periods many elderly people actually sleep longer. Many educational lectures cite the work of Ohayon et al . and state that while time in bed becomes longer in elderly people, the underlying essential core sleep time becomes shorter, because sleep efficiency decreases with aging. Importantly, though, that oft‐cited study was a meta‐analysis of sleep characteristics measured by “all night” polysomnography or actigraphy. Apparently this study only examined nocturnal periods. That qualification has frequently been missed, but deserves consideration. Interestingly, there have also been recurring surveys of sleep over 24 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sleep and Biological Rhythms Wiley

Does sleep really shorten when we get older?

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Japanese Society of Sleep Research
ISSN
1446-9235
eISSN
1479-8425
D.O.I.
10.1111/sbr.12069
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In Japan recently, there have been many educational campaigns and lectures on sleep hygiene and sleep medicine. Such activities are very helpful for many people, especially those with sleep problems, to better understand their disorders and to guide them to appropriate treatment. However, some information frequently offered about sleep and sleep need could be misleading, and should be better justified. Of particular concern is the issue of sleep length in elderly people. Sleep length across development and aging was first detailed by Roffwarg et al . Their data originally suggested that sleep time becomes shorter when we get older. However, it can frequently be observed that across 24 h periods many elderly people actually sleep longer. Many educational lectures cite the work of Ohayon et al . and state that while time in bed becomes longer in elderly people, the underlying essential core sleep time becomes shorter, because sleep efficiency decreases with aging. Importantly, though, that oft‐cited study was a meta‐analysis of sleep characteristics measured by “all night” polysomnography or actigraphy. Apparently this study only examined nocturnal periods. That qualification has frequently been missed, but deserves consideration. Interestingly, there have also been recurring surveys of sleep over 24

Journal

Sleep and Biological RhythmsWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2014

References

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