Variations in Sleep

Although we all need to sleep, how we experience sleep can be quite varied. Some of the factors that influence our sleep are intrinsic to who were are, and some are caused by changes in our routines and circumstances.

Age and genetics are two factors that influence how long we sleep, when we want to go to bed and wake up, and how deeply we are able to sleep. Jet lag and shift work can disrupt these normal sleep patterns by forcing the body to be awake when it wants to be asleep.

Profiles of Changes in Sleep with Age

These video stories feature a mom reflecting on bedtime routines with her two small children, a teen concerned about how early school start times are affecting his classmates, and a group of older adults seeking ways to get better sleep. more

Changes in Sleep with Age

Over a lifetime, the amount of time we spend asleep, the quality of our sleep, and even our ability to sustain sleep can change dramatically. more

Individual Variation and the Genetics of Sleep

The amount of sleep we need—as well as our preference for waking early or staying up late—varies from individual to individual and may be influenced by genetics. more

Jet Lag and Shift Work

Shifting to a new time zone or to working nights can result in sleep problems because our internal biological clock is out of sync with the environment. more