Myth Buster: Old People Need Less Sleep
Most people believe that older people need less sleep than younger people but according to Dr Sean Drummond, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego its just not true.
What does seem to happen is that as we get older our circadian or 'body' clocks get broken down leading to us getting our sleep in chunks rather than in one sustained nighttime sleep. Our sleep quota stays the same its just spread out more.
The older we get the more interrupted our night sleep can get generally due to health problems and so we feel more tired in the day time leading to catnaps or other strategies to cope with tiredness.
Most people need around eight hours sleep a day but one in 50 manage fine on less than six hours.
Last week scientist Nina Kraus said that those people that take a nap in the afternoon perform better than colleagues that don't.
The findings contradict the long established belief that the amount of sleep we need falls as we approach middle and old age.
The scans showed that both groups required a sufficient amount of sleep to perform the memory task properly. But only the younger volunteers needed to get their sleep in "one consolidated chunk".