Older Adults, College Students Need Similar Amounts of Sleep

Contrary to the popular notion that seniors need less sleep, adults age 65 and older should get 7-8 hours per day, according to guidelines in the February issue of Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

“An 86-year-old man needs as much sleep as a healthy 22-year-old college student,” says Dr. Alon Avidan, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at UCLA and one of the guideline authors.

Typically, older adults sleep less because their ability to sleep is impaired by underlying issues such as pain, sleep apnea, and psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, Avidan said. Medications such as asthma drugs also contribute to poor sleep quality.

The National Sleep Foundation guidelines were developed by a multidisciplinary panel of scientists who reviewed 277 studies previously published in scientific journals.

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