10 Myths About Sleep

As You Get Older, You Need Less Sleep
Even as you mature, you still need plenty of sleep. © michaeljung/iStock/Thinkstock

Sleep experts recommend that older adults aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every night, which, as you can see, is not much different than the seven to nine hours recommended for young and middle-aged adults [source: Hirshkowitz, et al]. You don't need less sleep as you get older, although your sleep habits are likely to shift with age. Seniors frequently report that while they don't regularly sleep through each night, they rely on a daytime nap (or two).

As you age, there are also more things getting between you and the sandman. As the years pass, your risk of developing sleep problems increases, including common disorders such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea. Often the cause of lost sleep in later years may look like a bout of transient insomnia, for example, but your sleep complaint may actually be caused by other health problems and chronic conditions such as arthritis, depression or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder).