Why do older people sleep less than younger people?

Even people who always have their sheets stuck to them start to enjoy waking up before the crack of dawn as they age. Well, not really that they enjoy it. They don’t need much sleep. older people sleep lessIt is a reality, but why?

In fact, there are many factors that can affect it. For example, routine changes, it is common to go to sleep early, which also means that they wake up earlier. If they will not be as active as they were when they were young. Or enjoy other routines. But this is all very personal. Now, yes there is two reasons More common reasons why older people sleep less.

The first is related to Brain and another one with him eyes, and both are related heart rhythm, Therefore, to understand them, the first thing we must do is remember what exactly they consist of.

What are circadian rhythms?

Circadian rhythms are what regulate many of our physiological needs in cycles of twenty four hours, The most common one is that it has to do with sleep; Because, barring exceptions, it’s something we do every day. We wake up in the morning, work throughout the day and sleep at night. day to day.

What else changes? time to time As for the length of days? Light! This will be different at every time of year and in every place in the world; But, in general, light also follows a 24-hour cycle. Therefore, this is the context that our brain uses to know when it comes. Time to sleep or wake up.

Light enters through the retina and reaches an area of ​​the brain called suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is responsible for regulating circadian rhythms. In the case of sleep, it is regulated, first of all, by the release of melatonin. This hormone is released at night dark situations, and begins to be disrupted by daylight. Therefore, when melatonin levels are high, we sleep, and when it becomes low, we remain awake.

Circadian rhythms in general and sleep in particular are both regulated by many other factors, But this is enough to understand why elderly people sleep less.

eyes are no longer what they were

Vision generally deteriorates as we age. In fact, many older people develop waterfallsA condition that is characterized by the presence of a lens opacities, The crystalline lens is the lens that is responsible for focusing light on the retina. Therefore, if that kind of curtain appears on the lens, then not enough light can reach it and the brain will not be fully aware of when it is day and when it is night.

This is one reason why older people sleep less. level of melatonin These reduce at night, because there is not that much difference in light compared to the day. This happens to people with cataracts as well as everyone else, as vision normally deteriorates over time.

As we age the light reaching the retina is different. Credit: Hanlin (Unsplash)

Another reason why older people sleep less

Even if a person is mentally healthy, his brain becomes stronger as he grows older. less sensitive For some stimuli. And these stimuli also include those that are processed suprachiasmatic nucleus.

That is why elderly people sleep less. They get tired and wake up early during the day before dawn, There is not that much difference between day and night and the patterns of fatigue are also different.

it should be said It’s not all bad, Just as we have to accept that as we age, our hair may turn gray and our skin may develop wrinkles, our sleep will also change. Ideally, this should be the biggest concern about aging. Unfortunately, there are worse things than that. Let’s let science try to find solutions without worrying that issues like sleep are nothing more than small things as long as we feel rested.

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