The surprising reason it gets harder to sleep as you get older

New research from UC Berkeley has revealed that sleep quality declines with age. But while previous studies have shown that older people sleep less, it’s not actually because they need less sleep. Instead, the study published in Neuron, argues that as we age our brain mechanisms change, which makes it harder for us to figure out when we’re actually tired. This in turn can make it more difficult to get a full night’s sleep. And as we know, lack of shuteye can lead to some pretty serious health implications.

It’s almost like a radio antenna that’s weak. The signal is there, but the antenna just can’t pick it up.

UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology, and the review’s co-author, Matthew Walker

The decline begins in your late 20s, and by the time you’re 50, you spend half as much time in deep sleep than you did 30 years before. Study authors are hopeful that this research breakthrough might help the development of medication and alternative therapies to improve the quality of our sleep as we age.