Hey everyone! This is my first research round with my question “How does dreaming vary with age?”.  For this round, I am going to look at how the sleep differentiates and changes with age.


The amount of sleep babies need does depend on their age. However, most babies sleep around 15- 18 hours a day. So about 8-9 hours during the day and around 7-8 hours at night, though they usually don’t sleep through the whole night until they are around 3 months old. Until then, they are usually waking up every 1- 2 hours at night. As a baby grows, the total time they sleep decreases but then the amount of time a baby sleeps at night increases. (1)

Here’s a table that shows how much sleep babies need as they age:



Total sleep hours

Total hours of nighttime sleep

Total hours of daytime sleep


16 hours

8 to 9


1 month

15.5 hours

8 to 9


3 months

15 hours

9 to 10

4 to 5

6 months

14 hours



9 months

14 hours



1 year

14 hours



1.5 years

13.5 hours



2 years

13 hours




In a baby’s sleep, they spend don’t spend much time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage of sleep in which we dream in.(2) During that stage of sleep however, they are also much more likely to wake up.(3) Their sleep cycles are much shorter than one in an adult. (1) A baby’s sleep cycle on average is usually around 50 minutes and those sleep cycles are divided equally. Whereas 20-25% of an adult’s sleep is slept in REM sleep, each sleep cycle takes around 90-120 minutes. (2)

In a baby’s REM cycle,  the brain is usually developing, consolidating, and solidifying different physical and cognitive skills . (2,4) Sleep is also really important in a baby because the brain needs to develop the brain hemispheres which is crucial for languages, relationships and reasoning.(3,4)  

Baby's sleep cycle


Toddlers need around 11-14 hours a day, whether they need a nap or not depends on the child, but they usually stop needing naps after 5 years old. They follow the same,regular REM and non REM sleep cycle(around 90 minutes each) by the time they are preschool age.  Because at such a young age children usually have a really wild imagination, toddlers usually have scary nightmares and creative dreams. They also have a lot of energy. Because of all that, it’s often hard to get a toddler to fall asleep and stay asleep. It could also lead to sleepwalking and sleep terrors.  However, there a few things parents can do to help the process. They could make sure that the child is following a regular sleep pattern(going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same time), a calming bedtime routine that will keep them relaxed and not hyper, and sleep in a calm,cool and dark environment each night. (5)

Image result for toddler sleep

Children from ages 6-13 years old often have much difficulty falling asleep. They need around 9-12 hours of sleep but there tends to be a lot of things in the way, such as homework, sports, and extracurricular activities. Plus, around this age, children usually become interested in technology which can affect things as well. Sleep problems and disorders are common at this age, and technology doesn’t help the case at all. Watching TV close to bedtime has been shown to have many effects on sleep, such as refusing to go to sleep, insomnia, sleeping less and having a lesser quality of sleep. (5)

Image result for children sleep

Teenagers need around 8-10 hours of sleep a night and their sleep cycles are different than one in children and adults. (7)  When you reach your teen years,the circadian rhythm, which is an internal biological clock, resets. This causes you to fall asleep later, as well as wake up later. (6,7)  A brain hormone, melatonin, is released later at night than it would be for children and adults, thus most likely causing the circadian rhythm change. For majority of teenagers, this change in sleep pattern comes at the complete wrong time of life. There is usually a lot of pressure and stress to do good in school; and well, not getting enough sleep could have impacts on that. Many teenagers stay up pretty late due to many reasons such as homework, sports, part time job, and using electronics. School usually starts early in the morning as well, which could decrease the amount of sleep you get by a few hours. Even if a few hours sleep loss isn’t big one night, it can have big impacts in the long run. (7) The average amount of sleep that teenagers get is around 7-7.5 hours. Sleep deprivation in teens can affect their mood, behavior, cognitive ability, academic performance.(6)

Image result for teenager sleep cycle

Image result for teenager sleep cycle

Image result for teenager sleep cycle

Generally, by the age of 20, sleep cycles and patterns start to stabilize. Adults need around 7-9 hours of sleep, however some can get by with less but some need even more than that. Adults older than 65, can also get by with less sleep. The reason behind why some people need more or less sleep is unknown, but genetics most likely does play a part. (8)  There is a rare genetic mutation in the gene DEC2, which causes the person to go to sleep at regular time, but wake up way earlier and feel just as rested as someone who just got a lot of sleep. (9) Adults sometimes do get less sleep just because of complications in their daily lives, such as work, or children. Parents to a newborn baby would be getting significantly less sleep as well, as the baby would be waking a lot and parents need to take care of their needs. (8)

Adult sleep cycle
Adult Sleep Cycle How You Sleep Through The Night Between REM and Deep Sleep











Pictures (In order of which they are placed in my research):
1. https://www.nestedbean.com/pag...ur-babys-sleep-cycle 

2. https://www.blisswellnessandsleep.com/sleep-1

3. https://www.shutterstock.com/search/sleeping+cartoon 

4. https://slideplayer.com/slide/761153/ 

5. https://sleepforsuccesswestport.com/the-science/ 

6. http://sleepincollege.blogspot...cle-of-teenager.html 

7. https://www.nestedbean.com/pag...ur-babys-sleep-cycle 


For my next research round, I'm going to be comparing the psychological impacts of dreams in children versus adults. If you have any ideas, feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for reading!

Original Post

Hello Rhea,

I see you are continuing with your subject of dreams and sleep! Just as your last topic this one seems to also be very interesting. It would appear to be that the older people get the less they need to sleep, but why is that? I mean if it would be possible to speed up that entire process of needing less sleep, I'd really like to know cause needing less sleep would help with so many things, like not being absolutely dead in the morning. I wonder though what effect this lessening in the amount of necessary sleep has on the person’s dreams. I really did adore the number of graphs and pictures you used for this round as it really made it more visible what you were talking about, being able to see it there right in front of me rather than trying to imagine it in my head. I can't wait to see the result of your rounds!

Hopefully, these sites may be of use to you:

Hi Rhéa! 

Your research round was amazing! I really enjoyed the visuals you added. The table you added at the beginning of your post was very helpful in my understanding on how the amount of sleep a person has varies with age. Moreover, your research on the sleep cycles and psychological impacts of dreams between different age groups was intriguing. When you were delving into the sleep cycles of teenagers, you mentioned how the circadian rhythm resets. I was wondering to why this occurs. Is it simply due to puberty? You, nonetheless, did a great job on describing what happens to us. It’s interesting how because of our internal clock, we sleep and wake up later. Furthermore, it’s intriguing how melatonin effects our bodies. I agree with you: it does come at the complete wrong time of life as teenagers experience various pressures and stress to good at school.  

Enthralled by the effects of technology on our sleep cycle, I suggest you delve into how our phones and devices effect our sleep cycles (on top of every concept you mentioned). I believe that it would be very beneficial and am very excited to see your future research rounds. I’ve also heard about there are certain conditions that can affect our sleep cycles. For example, there are seasons. I heard how due to the lack of sunlight during the winter, there is an increase of depression, fatigue and carb cravings. This is because vitamin D is crucial, and if we don’t have enough, we see a decrease of serotonin production. This chemical is known to play an important role in functions such as our sleep-wake cycles. Another example of conditions that can affect our sleep cycles is genetic mutations. There are some people that can sleep only few hours and still feel refreshed. This is because of an effect on their gene DEC2. I suggest you investigate behind this matter! The third website below delves deeper into this subject if you are interested. 


Here are some websites to help you out: 





Good luck! 


Hey Rhea! 

Awesome job on your post. I found it very interesting to read that as we grow up, we actually tend to sleep less! For example, seniors are assumed to be getting less sleep as teenagers which caught my attention. I'm happy you are continuing your topic focused on dreams, because it seems that you are really captivated by the entire concept! 

For your next round of research, I read that you are going to be comparing the psychological impacts of dreams in children versus adults. I think it would be really cool if you incorporated if the amount of sleep they have, could possibly impact the effects of their dreams.

Here's some websites I found that could help you for your next round:


Good luck!

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