7 Tips for Better Sleep in Midlife
For many women, once we hit midlife, sleeping through the night starts to feel like a pipe dream. Nearly half of women ages 40 to 65 say they’re suffering from poor sleep quality, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
As we approach menopause, our levels of estrogen and progesterone—hormones that help us fall and stay asleep—begin to fluctuate, says Tara Scott, M.D., a board-certified ob/gyn in Fairlawn, Ohio. As a result, we’re more prone to lighter sleep. In midlife, we’re also at greater risk of developing health conditions linked with disrupted zzz’s, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.
Then there’s the same old culprit: “Stress is a big factor,” says Scott. Many women have so much to balance—for example, a career, financial struggles, caring for adult children and aging parents, not to mention the emotional toll of menopause. And higher levels of cortisol (the so-called stress hormone) can suppress your body’s production of melatonin (the so-called sleep hormone), priming you for a vicious cycle of sleepless nights and stressed-out mornings.