Why We Get Less Deep Sleep As We Age (And What To Do About It)


Interestingly, not only do we get less non-REM sleep (stages 1 through 3) the older we get, but we actually get less REM sleep too—aka the sleep stage in which we dream. In fact, babies can spend up to 50% of their sleep in this stage, but adults average only about 20 to 25% in REM3.

On top of that, older adults are more like to report sleep disturbances4, such as less time asleep in general, more frequent nighttime wakeups, and more. As neurologist Nicole Avena, Ph.D., previously explained to mbg, “Quality of sleep can decline [with age] due to hormonal changes, medical complications, and stress.”


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