It’s common to hear people of any age complain about how tired they are, but most of us tend to think that tiredness increases with age. Just consider how many movies have shown grandpa fast asleep in his chair while the rest of the family is still up. According to a new U.S. study, it’s actually younger people who feel the most tired.
While the researchers were expecting more fatigue among older adults, the 15 to 24 age group reported feeling the most tired during all activities throughout the day. Researchers used a scale of 0 to 6 with 6 being “very tired,” and the 15-24 groups were almost a full point higher than seniors. The average fatigue scores fell from 2.5 among the youngest age group in the study to approximately 1.8 for the oldest age group.
Along the with age factor, the researchers also noted that women tended to feel more tired than men, those who were healthier and better educated generally reported being less tired, and that fatigue increases with each child in the family.
The study, conducted by Laura Kurdna and Paul Dolan at the London School of Economics and Political Science and published in the Journals of Gerontology Series B, included nearly 13,000 American participants and is one of very few large-scale investigations of tiredness.
“It’s a big effect,” Kurdna told Reuters Health. “The evidence on this so far is quite mixed, and most studies have either been done in clinical settings or in Europe.”
Kurdna and Dolan noted that the correlation between old age and decreased fatigue held true when they factored in considerations of how many children the subjects had, whether or not they were employed, how much/often they slept and their health in general.
Both researches admitted that studying and analyzing the concepts of fatigue and tiredness was a complicated endeavor. “Maybe there are some underlying health factors at play here,” Kudrna said. “The more we know about how the U.S. population feels going about their daily activities, the better.”
Kurdna offered a couple possible explanations for the findings of the study, including that “older people are able to use their time and do what they want to do when they want to do it.” She also noted that, because older people tend not to use social media (a claim I find more questionable every day), they “may not have their attention drained the way that younger people might.”
What do you think? Have you noticed that you’re experiencing less fatigue with age? What do you think might account for the change? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!