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Do the Old Folks Need Less Sleep?

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What is it with grandpa? He gets up at, like, six in the morning even on the weekends, when us kids can sleep until noon easily.

People have explained this by saying that you need less sleep as you get older. The fact is, while you're body is growing, you do need more sleep. However, once you're talking about fully grown adults, it's not the amount of needed sleep that changes over time, but the way people sleep.

When you get older, your sleep is more likely to be interrupted by pain, problems with breathing, or events like leg cramps. Older people usually make up for this sleep loss by taking more naps than younger people do. In fact, researchers have found that, the more a person's sleep is interrupted, the more they need to nap.

It's probably also true that people can form routines and habits, and a person who might have got out of bed early every day for many years to go to work will not stop getting up early once they retire. However, if their bodies need more sleep than they're getting, they will either have to make up for it with naps or, which is not good, just go on being what is called sleep-deprived.

Getting too little sleep can have serious health consequences, though.

So when grandpa wants to take a nap at three in the afternoon on a Saturday, when you only got up three hours before, well, chill out and let him!

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