Circadian rhythm, the 24-hour biological cycle driven by our internal clocks, affects many aspects of your life: sleep habits, metabolism, mood, immunity, memory, physical performance, cellular repair, and other critical functions in the body. Just as your body grows and evolves, so does your circadian rhythm change with age. To improve health and longevity, it’s important to understand the impact of age on circadian rhythms.
Sleeping and Waking Patterns
Your circadian rhythm determines your chronotype, or your natural preference for waking up or going to sleep. If you enjoy being a “morning person” or “night person,” thank your chronotype. An evolving chronotype is one of the most consistent age-related circadian changes. According to a study, older adults (60+) are substantially more inclined to prefer waking up earlier and going to bed earlier, reporting average bedtimes of one to two hours earlier than younger adults (20+).
The change in chronotype as we age also affects cognitive performance. Older adults perform as well as younger adults when tested for memory, focus, and speed in the morning, but they perform significantly worse when tested in the afternoon.
Quality of Sleep
The amount and quality of sleep you get changes drastically as your circadian rhythm evolves with age. Research shows that older adults wake up more frequently throughout the night, fall asleep more slowly, and spend less time in a deep state of sleep compared to younger adults. Studies estimate that every 10 years after the age of 40, we sleep about 30 minutes less per night than the decade before.
Similarly, the part of your brain that helps align your circadian rhythm with external cues declines as you age. For example, it becomes more difficult to adjust your circadian rhythm to light cues (like sunrise and sunset) the older you get.
Melatonin is the sleep hormone that controls your waking and sleeping cycles. Its production is crucial for deep sleep and circadian balance, but as you age, your body produces less. The average person’s melatonin level is 8-10 times higher at night than during the day, which assists with falling asleep quickly and deeply. Older adults, however, produce only twice as much melatonin at night than their daytime levels. Without enough melatonin, your circadian rhythm is disrupted, and you’ll experience less deep, restorative sleep. This is why older adults tend to feel increasingly tired throughout the day, leading to more frequent naps and earlier bedtimes.
Get the Sleep You Need at Any Age
As you age, it’s imperative to ensure you are synchronized to your circadian rhythm. RestoreZ helps you maintain circadian balance to combat age-related circadian rhythm changes. Learn which RestoreZ product is right for you to get the restorative sleep you need at any age.