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Describe and evaluate life span changes in sleep.

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Describe and evaluate life span changes in sleep. As humans grow from infancy to old age there are major changes in the amount of sleep and kind of sleep that a humans experience. Babies sleep a lot more than children or adults and also have different sleep patterns and sleep stages, they tend to sleep 16 hours a day, but their sleep is not continuous, they tend to wake up every hour or so because they have different sleep patterns to the normal 90 adult cycle. One explanation why babies sleep is so different from an adult is because it is an adaptive mechanism to make their parents life a lot easier. As when the baby sleeps the parents have time to rest, clean and eat, which would lead to an enhance survival. ...read more.


By the age of 5 EEG patterns look like those of an adults, although they are getting more REM sleep than an adult with 30% of sleep still spend in it REM sleep. Also a child sleeps longer than an adult about 12 hours. Boys sleep less than girls. In childhood it is the time when people are most likely to experience parasomnias. Adolescence, during childhood the need for sleep decreases but in adolescence it increases to about 9 to 10 hours. Also adolescents go to bed later and find it difficult getting up (phase delay). The change in sleep patterns in adolescents may be linked to the change in hormone levels. These hormones are primarily received at night and therefore sleep patterns are disturbed leading to sleep deprivation. By adulthood 'normal' sleep is about 8 hours per night. ...read more.


With increased age, total sleep remains about the same, though older people have more difficultly going to sleep and wake up more frequently in the night in the night around 6 times. This means that they may have a nap during the day. REM sleep decreases to about 20% of overall sleep. SWS decreases to 5% or even non in some people. And other NREM sleep increases. Reduced sleep in old age is mainly the consequence of physiological changes in the body but may be explain in terms of actual problems staying a sleep, such as sleep apnoea or medical illness. Also problems with staying asleep are associated with the reduction in SWS so people have less deep sleep meaning that they are more easily woken. Lifespan changes in sleep has useful applications of this research in ways to reduce the effects of ageing by improving sleep 'hygiene'. ...read more.

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