Skip to comments.My Grandma Says She Needs Less Sleep As She Gets Older—Is She Lying?
Posted on 09/18/2021 1:27:01 AM PDT by be-baw
You can consider it an old wives tale or something that gray-haired ladies weave while power-knitting: the older you get, the less sleep you need. That sounds like a rare and significant pro of aging, being able to be energized for longer hours. It also sounds... extremely not real. While I do remember my grandma up-and-at-'em around 6 a.m. each day, and I also remember her out cold on the couch, head toppled backwards. So do you need less sleep as you get older? Or is YiaYia a liar?
Well, first off, there's at least an element to truth, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Our needs definitely do change as we age. When you're a fresh-out-of-the-oven newborn to 3 months old, you require something like 14 to 17 hours a day. Diaper-bound infants need more like 12 to 15 hours a day. Toddlers to kindergartners need 11 to 15 hours a day, hence the mid-day break of nap time. It slims to nine and 11 hours of sleep until you hit your teens, and it's more like eight to 10 hours. Seven to nine hours is the recommended number for adults (I know, I'm giggling, too), and that's the same once you're 65 or older. So, yes, technically you do need less sleep as you get older.
But the reason why you factually get and function on less sleep has nothing to do with becoming an incredibly spry elder who really wants to be up at the crack of dawn. Rather, our patterns simply change, and we get more shallow rest compared to that subterranean deep REM goodness. Likewise, it's more common to go back to our kindergarten habits and catch a quick nap on the sly.
"As we age, we tend to have less deep sleep, with more broken sleep and awakenings throughout the night," says sleep expert Shelby Harris, PsyD, author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia. "Naps and dozing occur more throughout the day as well. When taken into account, an average older adult should get approximately the same amount of sleep as he or she did normally before aging, maybe half an hour to an hour less. And this is because the new, extra broken sleep in the middle of the night is made up for by those little naps."
Sure enough, you want to pay attention attention if you or an older loved one is finding themselves with a shattered snooze schedule.
"If someone is older and starts to have significantly less sleep than before, way worse quality, many awakenings and the feeling that sleep is generally not restorative, an evaluation with a doctor would be warranted," says Dr. Harris. "Sleep apnea is very common here!"
Regardless of age, there's a few things you can do to get yourself back on track if you're not sure if you're getting enough sleep. It requires a little discipline, and maybe some PTO, but it's worth a shot.
"Go on vacation or take a week off where you do not need to wake to an alarm," says Dr Harris. "Instead, go to bed every night at your usual bedtime and note when you naturally awaken in the morning. Average together the total rest time for days four through seven—ignore the first few days because you’re likely paying back a good deal of sleep debt."
But when I sleep almost nothing will wake me up. A guy mows my lawn for me. I don't hear him when he's here, I don't hear people knocking on my door, I don't hear the phone ring and I don't hear the alarm on my phone, when for most of life, noises like that would always wake me up, so maybe I need fewer hours because I'm sleeping more soundly. I don't know.
I also don't get up to pee although the norm was, until about a year ago, I got up to go every night, often twice per night.
Once every few months I get 8+ hours of sleep in a night and I wake up very slowly where it takes me a full minute before I can even open my eyes all the way. I wish I could sleep more because like most people I love to sleep.
However, there has been no negative effects.
What is thought to be happening is that the older you get, the more your role changes from that of a provider to that of a watchman to protect the household. The seniors watch for threats when they are most likely present and the younger adults can sleep soundly so that they can provide for the household during the day.
I haven’t slept since 1972.
Hope you are well, my FRiend!
I’m from a planet with a 30 hour circadian rhythm.
Kathy Ireland won’t let you sleep, or is Kate Upton back in the picture?
I never used to nap at all but now I do a minimum 3-4 hrs at night and a nap in the afternoon and maybe a wine induced one after supper...
Wife doesn’t understand it. You mess with her 8hr minimum and you are poking a tiger.
Personally, when I became a Sergeant and in charge of people, my entire sleep pattern got jacked. I went from a deep sleeper, to light sleeper almost instantly. As a husband and father, I have remained that way ever since. Most nights I need to have white noise machine in order to not be waking up at every sound. I am also a huge fan of naps, as long as they aren’t too long, that’ll get ya.
I've tried chamomile and valerian, Advil PM, half a beer to get drowsy, benadryl, tryptophan. Exercise doesnt make a difference at all.
If anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate it.
The first rule of fight club is you dont talk about fight club.
I remember spending a few weeks of my summer vacations with my grandparents when I was a kid.
Every afternoon, around three o'clock, Grandpa would wink at Grandma and ask her if it wasn't time for them to take their "special nap."
Grandpa and Grandma would then "disappear" for about half an hour, I'd hear them turn on the radio in their bedroom, and then they'd come back looking refreshed and cheerful.
I always wondered how they could sleep with that "pro-wrestling" program always playing in the background. The grunts and snorts were especially annoying.
Years later, I found out that they had no radio in their bedroom.
So it's possible that your grandmother is indeed lying. Old folks tend to get less honest as they age.
Doxylamine succinate: sold on Amazon as Kirkland Sleep Aid. You should probably start with 1/2 tablet. For most people it works better than prescription meds, without the side effects. Cheap too. I’ve used it for over 20 years.
Same here. The “responsible” for their safety and well being thing changed me forever - and I was just am employer - but it was the commitment to the requirement that got me.
If your brain is running try an boring audible book on a timer. Or read a dull tome.
“I also don’t get up to pee although the norm was, until about a year ago, I got up to go every night, often twice per night.”
Ditto. I sleep all through the night now - since I got my MyPillow. Not kidding. It’s wonderful.
Bookmarked and thank you.
“If anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate it.”
My sister and a few of my friends chew two Gaviscon or Tums before bed, and say it makes all the difference. My friend says the Gaviscon liquid is better than the tablets.
They heard that stomach issues can mess with sleep, even though you don’t feel anything in your stomach.
And my MyPillow has helped me, but that’s just me.
Melatonin ... dollar tree has 30 day supply for a buck ...
I second the Melatonin.
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