When you were 20, you could chug a double latte at 9 p.m., sleep through your alarm and wake up at noon. But now that you’re over 40, your relationship with sleep has gotten a lot more…dysfunctional. If it takes you an hour to fall asleep, you’re up at least twice to pee, and at three a.m., you’re just up for no reason. Friends, if this is you, you’re not alone.
Unfortunately, because of a gradual buildup of the protein beta amyloid in the brain, the quality of the sleep we get declines as we get older, according to sleep scientist Matthew Walker, the author of Why We Sleep. “The brain is not capable of generating that sleep which it still needs and the body still needs,” he explained on Fresh Air. But while the decline may begin in your forties, it isn’t over yet. “By the time you're in your fifties, you've perhaps lost almost 40 to 50 percent of that deep sleep that you were having, for example, when you were a teenager. By age 70, you may have lost almost 90 percent of that deep sleep.” Eep.
So, what do we do about it? While we obviously can’t stop aging (well, unless you’re Kerry Washington), there are a few sleep specialist-approved ways women over forty can fall asleep faster…and actually stay asleep.