National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 1: Normal Sleep

Age and Sleep

Sleep changes as a function of the normal aging process.

A recent meta-analysis of 65 sleep studies that involved 3,577 healthy sleepers documented age-related changes in sleep patterns (sleep latency; total sleep time [TST], and awake time) and percentages of N1, N2, slow-wave sleep (SWS), and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.89

Age-dependent sleep changes that have been consistently replicated and shown to decrease with age include TST, sleep efficiency, and SWS. Conversely, the number of times a person wakes up during sleep (known as “wake after sleep onset,” or WASO), increases with age. (Figure 1.8 and Figure 1.9).

Figure 1.8: Age-related number of awakenings lasting five or more minutes, occurring after sleep onset, in good sleepers90

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1.9: Sleep across the life span91

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

89. Ohayon M, Carskadon MA, Guilleminault C, et al. Meta-analysis of quantitative sleep parameters from childhood to old age in healthy individuals: Developing normative sleep values across the human lifespan. Sleep. 2004;27:1255-1273.

90. Williams RI, Karacan I, Hursch CJ. EEG of Human Sleep: Clinical Applications. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 1974.

91. Williams RI, Karacan I, Hursch CJ. EEG of Human Sleep: Clinical Applications. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons, 1974. See also: Ohayon M, Carskadon MA, Guilleminault C, et al. Meta-analysis of quantitative sleep parameters from childhood to old age in healthy individuals: Developing normative sleep values across the human lifespan. Sleep. 2004;27:1255-1273.