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Is it true you require less sleep as you get oldre?

I've heard that you actually require more sleep when you are younger and as you become older you are less tired, is there any truth to this?

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Sleep is your body's way of recovering from the damage it experiences throughout the day, as well as growth and development. From birth, children need lots more sleep because their bodies are experiencing lots of growth and development. As growth slows, your body requires less sleep to perform this function. In the prime years of your life you are generally more active, however, causing more damage to your body on a cellular level. This damage isn't bad, in fact can be quite healthy as it promotes the body's natural way of distributing nutrition and flushing out the trash, so to speak. It does, however, require specific amounts of sleep to help recover at a cellular level from this increased activity. This is why you are tired after a long hard day's work, and often can't sleep if you have been lazy all day watching TV and lazing about. As you get older your activity level decreases, requiring less sleep to recover damage to your cells. But decrease in activity level also increasing the "aging" process due to the decrease in the natural functions I mentioned before. There is a fine balance between staying active, getting sleep, and aging gracefully.

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There seems to be some truth to that statement of needing less sleep as you age. Studies show that there is less sleep needed by only about an hour however as you get older. You will need about 7 hours of sleep between the ages of 20-30 and about 6 hours of sleep at about 66 years of age. There is not an issue of being less tired it really comes down to sleep deprivation that many adults suffer from today. With proper sleeping time you will slow down the natural aging process.

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Jim Horne, who is a British sleep expert says that it is a myth that elderly people get less sleep. Apparently most adults get somewhere between 5 - 7 hours sleep, no matter how old you are. However, if you nap during the day, as plenty of retired people do, then you don't need to sleep as long at night.

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/ssehs/research/centres-institutes/sleep/pop_articles/sleep_thumb.html http://www.sleepdex.org/debt.htm

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As you get older, you do need slightly less sleep...and this is certainly given that you are continuing to get the right amount of movement and and exercise as well as eating right. The other side of the 'less sleep' coin is that the body needs more resistance and aerobic training to maintain levels of energy.

The Human Performance Institute with Jim Loehr and Jack Groppel is, in my opinion, the best source of information and training in this regard. Jim's book, "The Power of Full Engagement," is fantastic.

http://www.hpinstitute.com

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Statistics are so broad they cannot take into all the variables of why when people get older they appear to need less sleep. It depends on the people, their lifestyles, eating/drinking habits, medicines, environment, sex, metabolism, whether they had children or have children. Having children is a major factor in affecting sleep patterns. For most parents, their first child sleeps very little for the first year and potentially longer. Anyone previously used to sleeping 8 hours a day drops to 4-5 hours a day for the first year and subsequently they may take years to recover their normal pattern.

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