Q: Do you need less sleep as you get older?
A: No. It’s a myth that the older you get, the less sleep you need. You need as much sleep as ever, but you sleep less soundly and tend to fragment your sleep—that is, you wake up more often and for longer periods—and your deep sleep stages become shorter. Interestingly, healthy older people tend to report better sleep than younger people, according to a large survey published in the journal Sleep last year.
While it’s commonly believed that almost all older people are poor sleepers, the survey found that self-reported sleep quality actually improves with age, except for a worsening between ages 40 and 60. Unless medical or psychiatric problems interfere with their sleep, older people report fewer sleep disturbances and less daytime sleepiness than their younger counterparts.