Sleep has been a sexy, salient topic on NPR this week. My labmate passed along an article that nicely summarizes changes in sleep architecture with age. One of the interviewees was my undergraduate advisor, Dr. Mary A. Carskadon; her lab investigates adolescent sleep and its changes across puberty; the internally generated circadian rhythm within the SCN and melatonin release from the pineal gland are increasingly delayed across puberty, which behaviorally means that teenagers have a natural, biological tendency to fall asleep late and awake late….though school districts have yet to understand….or care…..). Below is a beautiful schematic from the Basics of Sleep Handbook, provided by the Sleep Research Society, showing a remarkable loss of REM and slow wave sleep with age.
Less Sleep, More Wake With Age