Few things are as frustrating as being unable to sleep through the night. From waking up multiple times in the middle of the night to waking up hours earlier than you wanted to and being unable to fall back asleep, interrupted sleep and insomnia can throw off your whole day. Luckily, there are solutions—but in order to find the right solution, you have to first get down to the root of the issue, and that can be difficult in itself.
Our bodies change as we age, so there are several reasons that women over 40, in particular, may frequently experience interrupted sleep. To discover just a few of the most common causes, we spoke to Morgan Adams, M.S.W. Holistic Sleep Coach for women. She told us that drops in blood sugar, overheating, and sleep apnea could be to blame for your sleep issues in middle age.
1. Blood sugar drops
It's important not to underestimate the role your blood sugar plays in your health. Believe it or not, blood sugar levels can even make a major difference in the quality of your sleep. Adams explains that you're likely to experience drops in the middle of the night, "and as a consequence there’s a cortisol and adrenaline surge which causes an awakening." Luckily, there are ways to minimize this issue. She suggests eating a small snack about an hour before bed. "The snack should have some carbs and fat, for example a half a banana with a tablespoon of almond butter," Adams says. Noted!
2. You're too hot
Ensuring your bedroom is the right temperature when you go to bed at night can be crucial to getting a full night's rest. In fact, Adams says that one major reason women have disrupted sleep is the fact that they get too hot in the night. It isn't just the temperature of the room that you should consider, though; choose your pajamas and bedsheets carefully. "Sleeping in sheets and pajamas that are made from bamboo fabric can often be more cooling than cotton," Adams points out, noting that "a cooling mattress pad is also a great solution for keeping women cool as they sleep."
3. Sleep apnea
If you find it difficult to sleep through the night, sleep apnea might be the cause. This is a sleep disorder that causes your breathing to stop briefly in the middle of the night, and Adams explains that "the brief breathing interruptions are causing them to awaken." Sleep apnea doesn't just make it difficult to sleep—it can also be dangerous, so talking to your doctor about any potential issues is extremely important. "To determine if one has sleep apnea they should contact their doctor to arrange for a test that can be done overnight at a sleep lab or at home," Adams says, explaining that "treatment of sleep apnea usually involves a CPAP machine or an oral appliance."
Of course, the list doesn't stop there. There are so many reasons you may be experiencing difficulties in your sleep, and the best way to get down to the bottom of things is to pay attention to your body and sleeping patterns, and check in with a doctor if issues become chronic. But if you're having trouble figuring out the root of the issue, these are a few possibilities to consider—and once you know where the problem lies, you'll be one step closer to better sleep.