Sleep Training System

Simple, common sense solutions

 

Introduction

 

In the beginning, sleep is not an issue for most of us.  Although insomnia can occur at any age, at least through young adulthood our natural sleep systems tend to be strong enough so for the most part we sleep soundly and consistently awaken refreshed. 

We all inevitably experience at one time or another restless nights for a myriad of reasons – sickness, diet, stress are all factors – but in general chronic insomnia is not typically a concern when we’re young, even though the amount of sleep needed steadily declines until we reach adulthood. 

 

Average hours of sleep decreases through adulthood

Age

Average hours of sleep

Newborn

Up to 18 hours

1–12 months

14–18 hours

1–3 years

12–14 hours

3–5 years

11–13 hours

5–12 years

10–11 hours

Adolescents

9–10 hours

Adults, including elderly

7–9 hours

Source:  National Institutes of Health

As we age, that often changes.  In early adulthood, many of us are challenged by a slowing biological clock that disconnects from a normal circadian rhythm.  In later life, we tend to sleep lighter, are awakened more easily, and the strength of our inherent ability to sleep becomes somewhat diminished.  As our sleeping becomes lighter and more fragmented, the idea of sleep becomes more of a concern for many of us. 

There are a number of underlying reasons for this concern. 

From about age 14 through 30, it’s common for our biological clocks to slow down and get out of synch with the natural circadian cycle of each day. Because of a slower biological clock, some young adults may experience more of a 28 to 30 hour day instead of a 24-hour day. This means 11 p.m. may feel more like 7 or 8 p.m.  And 7 a.m. may feel more like 3 or 4 a.m. 

Sure, those hours can make it tough to sleep! Fortunately, most people’s biological clocks eventually speed up to more of a normal 24-hour day and this issue is resolved. Still, for some people this can lead to concerns about the idea of sleep.

By the time we are in our mid to late 30s, physiological changes are occuring in our now aging bodies.  Our metabolism changes in subtle but progressive ways.  These metabolic changes associated with aging can and do affect sleep.

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