Let’s face it…there are those days when the thought of taking a quick nap is hard to fight off. Whether the need for some shut-eye is caused by a particularly strenuous period of activity, or is related to boredom, or is just something that happens accidentally, it doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong. Besides, we’re getting older, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us that the amount of sleep we need changes as we age.

But note that while taking a nap can be a healthy recharge in between regular, daily periods of sleep, it’s important to be aware of any signs pointing to potential problems. For example, medical experts warn that the constant need for napping could be indicative of a sleep disorder or even a chronic disease condition. And for the elderly specifically, changes in daily sleep patterns–including the repeated unexpected need for a nap–could indicate an underlying health problem that should be called to the attention of one’s regular doctor.

Sleep Health

If you’re interested in researching a variety of specific topics related to the general area of sleep and how it impacts the health and wellness of seniors, check out or Tuck.com sleep health entry on our Resources page.

What the CDC is Doing in This Area

The CDC’s Sleep and Sleep Disorders Team works to increase awareness of sleep health and sleep disorders and their impact on the public’s health. With a mission ” To raise awareness about the problem of sleep insufficiency and sleep disorders and the importance of sleep health for the nation’s overall health,” the Team has set some specific objectives Their broad objectives:

  • Strengthen surveillance of sleep at national and state levels.
  • Promote partnerships that deliver broadbased messages to diverse populations.
  • Increase public awareness about sleep health, sleep disorders, and consequences of sleep deprivation.
  • Promote science-based public policies that improve the sleep health of the nation.
  • Advance strategies to reduce the impact of sleep deprivation on the public’s health and safety.
  • Promote recognition of and access to care for all individuals with sleep disorders.

And as a reminder to all of us the CDC Team has established this recommended table of sleep requirements for various age groups:

Age Group Age in YearsRecommended Amounts of Sleep
Newborn0–3 months14–17 hours (National Sleep Foundation)1
No recommendation (American Academy of Sleep Medicine)2
Infant4–12 months12–16 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
Toddler1–2 years11–14 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
Preschool3–5 years10–13 hours per 24 hours (including naps)2
School Age6–12 years9–12 hours per 24 hours2
Teen13–18 years8–10 hours per 24 hours2
Adult18–60 years7 or more hours per night3
61–64 years7–9 hours1
65 years and older7–8 hours1
  1. Hirshkowitz M, Whiton K, Albert SM, Alessi C, Bruni O, et al. The National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health. 2015;1(1):40–43.
  2. Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D’Ambrosio C, Hall WA, Kotagal S, Lloyd RM, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for pediatric populations: a consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(6):785–786.
  3. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, et al. Recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult: a joint consensus statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. 2015;38(6):843–844.

Per the CDC Team: “Although the amount of sleep you get each day is important, other aspects of your sleep also contribute to your health and well-being. Good sleep quality is also essential. Signs of poor sleep quality include not feeling rested even after getting enough sleep, repeatedly waking up during the night, and experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders (such as snoring or gasping for air). Improving sleep quality may be helped by better sleep habits or being diagnosed and treated for any sleep disorder you may have.”