Sleep-wake Rhythm

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Sleep-wake Rhythm
Sleep-wake Rhythm

Video: Sleep-wake Rhythm

Video: Sleep-wake Rhythm
Video: Neurobiology of Sleep - Circadian Rhythms, Sleep-Wake Cycle and Insomnia 2023, May

Sleep & phases of life

How much sleep is needed varies from person to person. Also, whether you get up early and get tired earlier in the evening or prefer to sleep late and be more active in the evening, varies from person to person. In addition, the sleep-wake cycle is influenced by external factors (e.g. exposure to light, working hours, etc.).

The amount of sleep, sleep rhythm and sleeping habits also change over the years. For example, infants sleep a lot.


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  • Sleep day and night
  • Change in sleep with age
  • Trouble sleeping

Sleep day and night

By and large, the organism is usually adjusted to sleep and recovery processes at night, and performance peaks during the day. But even during the day or in the waking phase, attention cannot always and permanently be kept at the same level. In the early afternoon, for example, there is a low performance level and an increased willingness to be “sleepy” (afternoon nap).

An increased willingness to sleep can basically occur during the entire day - even if there is no illness. This "sleepiness" differs from the characteristic sleep phases. So-called microsleep can be particularly dangerous (e.g. when driving a car) - with reduced responsiveness.

Change in sleep with age

Different phases of life are characterized by different "deep" and sometimes different lengths of sleep:

  • Infancy. Infants, for example, have a long total sleep duration of around 16 to 18 hours. You sleep both day and night - but not continuously, but with interruptions. Over the course of the weeks and months, their sleep-wake rhythm and day-night rhythm adapts, so that they sleep less during the day and more at night. Infants also have high levels of REM sleep. For more information on how babies and toddlers sleep, see If the little dream boy doesn't come …
  • Childhood & adolescence. In childhood, the amount of sleep decreases somewhat, and the proportion of REM sleep also decreases. Over time, sleep ultimately only takes place at night. Adolescents in puberty need more sleep again. The rhythm is also usually shifted backwards (therefore: tiredness in the morning, getting up later, going to bed later).
  • Adulthood. Once the right personal sleep duration has been found, it usually remains constant over adulthood. Sleep behavior and patterns often change with advancing years of life. Waking up briefly at night becomes more frequent. With age, the tendency to go to bed earlier and to wake up / get up earlier increases. The sleep-wake rhythm shifts forward, and the times of sleep are distributed differently over day and night. During the day, a need for sleep can express itself strongly (napping during the day). Old people don't necessarily sleep less. However, they often sleep “easier”, have less deep sleep and can have problems sleeping through the night.

Trouble sleeping

Hormonal changes during menopause can affect night sleep. In addition, sleep problems appear in the course of the monthly female cycle (e.g. at the beginning of menstruation). Sleep can also be disturbed during pregnancy for various reasons - especially in the last few weeks.

In addition, diseases (e.g. heart and lung diseases, neurological diseases (e.g. heart and lung diseases, diabetes mellitus), chronic pain, itching (e.g. with neurodermatitis, allergies), stomach problems, nocturnal urination (nocturia) and the use of medication affect the Sleep off. Not being outdoors (light) and lack of exercise can negatively affect sleep. Last but not least, permanent stress, psychological stress, psychiatric illnesses and loneliness all affect the quality of sleep.

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