The Effect of Age on Hours of Sleep
By: Varsha Kanneganti, Janice Kao
Adults will have a greater amount of sleep than high schoolers' on an average work night.
Type of Investigation
Parts of the experiment
Independent Variable: Age
Dependent Variable: Hours of Sleep gotten
Experimental Groups: adults (ages 19-up, both genders), high schoolers at CHS (ages 14-18, both genders)
2 Factors Held Constant: kind of night the sleep is gotten on (work night), the questionnaire questions
This experiment illustrated that adults got more sleep than high schoolers on an average weeknight or work night. The average hours of sleep adults got each work night, approximately 7.7 hours, was larger than the average hours of the high schoolers, approximately 6.5 hours. When looking at the graph with the error bars depicting ± 2 standard errors of the mean, the error bars do overlap, but only by a small amount. Because the error bars do not overlap many of the same numbers, the independent variable, which was age, did affect the results. Additionally, when a t-test was conducted, the p-value gotten was 0.03. Because the p-value was below 0.05, there is at least a 95% confidence that the null hypothesis (age had no effect) is incorrect. Scientifically, as adults age, the slow-wave sleep stage that has the most restorative effects is replaced by a less restorative stage (Shaw). Because adults have a shortened restorative stage in sleep, their sleep tends to be less satisfying and restorative (Cicetti). Also, as people age, more health problems tend to interrupt the rhythm of their sleep; thus, adults sleep more to make up for the time lost from disruptions in sleep and to completely re-energize themselves (Shaw).
Sources of Errors/Inaccuracies
Cicetti, By Fred. "Do Older People Need More Sleep?" LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 10 May 2009. Web. 06 Sept. 2015. <http://www.livescience.com/3575-older-people-sleep.html>.
Fisher, R. J. (1993). “Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning“. Journal of Consumer Research, 20, 303-315.
Rettner, Rachael. "Man Comfortably Sleeping in His Bed." Fox News. FOX News Network, 03 Aug. 2012. Web. 04 Sept. 2015. <http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/03/sleep-fails-to-enhance-memory-in-older-adults/>.
Shaw, Gina. "Adult Sleep Needs at Every Age: From Young Adults to the Elderly." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2015. <http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/adult-sleep-needs-and-habits>.
Sleep deprivation. Digital image. Cfah. Cfah, n.d. Web. <http://www.cfah.org/images/010510-sleep-deprived-students-story.jpg>.