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Changes in Sleep Across the Life Span

Any individual, no matter what age, will exhibit physical ailments, mental health instability, reduced alertness, and impaired memory if their sleep is chronically disrupted.

The benefits of quality REM sleep are innumerable. Any individual, at any age in life, experiences REM sleep, although its length varies based on the person’s age. Disruptions of REM sleep in fetuses can be caused if the mother consumes alcohol. The alcohol crosses the placental barrier, and the fetus’s brain will suffer suppression of REM sleep. As a result, future cognition will be impaired. Again, it can be determined that REM sleep “is not optional during early human life, but obligatory.”

By the age of four, the child’s behavior is dominated by the circadian rhythm. At this stage in life, children also experience biphasic sleep which means a longer night slumber and a nap during the day. As children grow older, they almost certainly discard the nap during the day and only sleep during the night.

Elderly individuals who experience sleeping problems are advised to consult a sleep doctor before taking a sleeping pill. The quality of sleep is usually lower in elderly people because they wake up more frequently during the night. One of the reasons is a weakened bladder from taking different medications. Also, they are advised to lower their fluid intake during the late hours of the day. A few lifestyle changes may contribute to a healthier sleeping pattern. A lower sleep efficiency score leads to higher mortality risk.

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