Changes in sleep with age

  • Babies and young adolescents have more deep sleep (slow wave sleep) and less REM (dream) sleep than adults
  • The amount of slow wave sleep decreases as we age
  • Middle-aged adults have more REM sleep than children and adolescents
  • As age increases and the amount of REM sleep reduces, the amount of light sleep increases
  • Sleep latency (the length of time it takes to fall asleep) does not change much throughout life, and should generally be about 10-20 minutes.
  • Insomnia is more common in the elderly.