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5 Reasons Why Middle-Aged Women Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep

As we grow older, our sleeping patterns change. This won’t come as a surprise to most people - our circadian rhythms regularly shift throughout our lifetimes, from infancy to adulthood. But for women approaching middle-age, there are many factors at play that can affect how well you sleep. You might remember staying up late as a teenager and sleeping until noon the next day; these days, you’re probably tucked up in bed by 10pm.

Middleaged -women

 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. But for those growing older, that number drops to 7-8. This might not seem like much of a difference, but as middle-age approaches, you might start to wake up in the night. This shortens your overall time spent asleep.

 

With hormonal changes to contend with, women will find this period in their lives an especially difficult time to nod off. Here are five reasons why you might be struggling to get a good night’s sleep.

 

1) Your internal clock has shifted. In our teenage years, we don’t feel the need to sleep until much later on in the night. But as you grow older, new circadian rhythms kick in, and you tend to start feeling tired earlier on. This means that you might start to feel more alert in the mornings, which can come as a surprise to former night owls.

 

2) You’re waking up in the night. When we get older, we become much lighter sleepers. This is because our brain waves no longer reach the same heights they used to. These high spikes make sure we slip into a deep, restorative slumber – but when our brain waves don’t climb high enough, we turn into light sleepers. As a result, people find themselves waking up frequently in the night. This problem is made even worse if your partner snores, or uses the bathroom a lot. If snoring is an issue that disturbs your sleep, you can find more information about solutions on the Products tab above.

 

3) You have a sleep disorder. Sleep apnoea is a frustrating condition that many people are completely unaware they suffer from. If you have a good bedtime routine, but still find yourself nodding off during the day, sleep-disordered breathing could be to blame. A decrease in your throat’s muscle tone often accompanies ageing, and this can make it harder for your airway to stay open while you sleep (causing you to snore). In some cases, the airway becomes so narrow that the walls stick together and close up. This usually happens for 10-30 seconds, but can happen for longer. When the airway finally opens up again, you’ll make a loud, violent snore. This is known as an apnoea. Because your body has to constantly wake itself up in order for you to breathe, you’ll spend the next day feeling tired and unrefreshed. If you suspect you have sleep apnoea, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can find more information on sleep apnoea on the tab above titled Do I Have Sleep Apnoea?

 

4) The menopause is kicking in. Hot flashes can be your worst enemy when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep. As well as not being able to regulate your body temperature, sleep-disturbing mood disorders and snoring can also crop up as a result of menopause. You’re more at risk of developing sleep apnoea too – estrogen and progesterone maintain your airway’s muscle tone and keep it from collapsing. As these hormone levels drop, the risk of sleep apnoea increases.

 

5) You’ve got Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). This is a neurological disorder that is frequently undiagnosed. If you’ve got RLS, you’ll experience a strange, restless feeling in your legs. This is followed by the uncontrollable urge to move your legs to get rid of the feeling. Lying down and trying to relax only makes the feeling worse, which is why it can stop you from getting a good night’s rest. The more this happens, the more likely you are to experience insomnia and daytime sleepiness.

 

Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important. If your problems persist, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Your sleep is well worth it.

 

 

What Exactly Is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a condition in which a person stops breathing, either completely or somewhat, over and over again during sleep. These interruptions in breathing can be several seconds or even minutes long. The pauses in breathing disturb the normal sleep pattern and, if they are long enough, drop the oxygen level in the blood, eventually leading to other medical problems.

There are two main types of Sleep Apnoea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
  • Central Sleep Apnoea

In Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), the snorer is more or less strangled regularly during sleep. Imagine the part between the back of the nose and the voice-box as a hose pipe. Right, now imagine this hose pipe being frequently narrowed or closed off by negative pressure as the air inside is sucked out repeatedly. Something very similar happens to the air passage when a person has OSA.

In reality, the negative pressure happens when the snorer breaths in. The air passage closes off because the muscles holding it open are less active during sleep. Also, fatty tissue on the outside of the “hose pipe” can narrow the passage, making it easier to get blocked. Being overweight by only a few kilograms can significantly increase your chances of snoring, that can then develop into OSA.

When the air passage closes off, the snorer struggles to breathe and wakes up – gasping for air. The obstruction is then over, and normal breathing can carry on, allowing the snorer to fall asleep again. This happens over and over again during the night.

We all have heard a sleeping person snoring loudly, and then becomes quite, and starts breathing again with a gasp or snort. This is the classic description of a person with OSA. If severe enough, symptoms can include mood swings, depression, feeling tired, even when you’ve had plenty of sleep, and morning headaches.

The second and less common type of sleep apnoea is Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA) in which there are pauses in breathing during sleep without obstruction to the air passage. In this instance, the brain “forgets” to send signals to the lungs to breathe. Since blockage of the air passage is not required to produce CSA, snoring is usually not a major symptom and may not be at all. CSA is usually the result of other medical conditions like some brain disorders, heart failure, drugs like sleeping tablets, or narcotics that restrain brain activity.

Both OSA and CSA can occur in the same person. When this happens, OSA is usually more severe than CSA.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea:

[Illustration of listed symptoms]

  • Daytime sleepiness

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  • Loud snoring

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  • Abrupt awakenings caused by gasping or choking

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  • Dry mouth or sore throat

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  • Morning headache

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  • Moods swings; depression

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  • High blood pressure

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  • Decreased libido

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Here at Snoreeze, we believe that sleep is essential. That is why we offer a wide range of snoring relief products to suit everybody. You can visit our products page here and target the main cause of snoring. All products are available online without the need for a prescription.

How snoring could raise your risk of dementia

Alzheimer's Research UK say keeping active and maintaining a healthy diet are two ways to reduce your risk of dementia, but did you know that reducing your snoring can have an impact too?

 

Dementia: the facts

  • 46.8 million people worldwide are living with some form of dementia.  
  • By 2050 this figure is estimated to reach a staggering 131.5 million.
  • A UK study has estimated that the health and social care costs for dementia almost match the combined costs of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Dementia Statistics

Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, with 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 suffering with the condition.  Life expectancy in the UK is rising every year, meaning that dementia is set to become a bigger problem than ever.

 

Poor sleep and dementia

Poor sleep has been found to be a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia.  This means that getting a decent amount of uninterrupted sleep is vital not only for our physical health, but our mental health too. 

Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline

How could my snoring affect my partner's dementia risk?

Snoring is a problem that can get worse with age.  As we get older muscle tone decreases all over our bodies, even in our airways!  This means that the soft tissues in your upper airway are much more likely to vibrate as you breathe; causing the snoring sound.  

If you sleep next to a partner, snoring can become a real bugbear in your relationshipNot only does your partner get woken by your snoring, but they probably wake you to stop you snoring too! 

Recent studies have shown links between sleepiness and sleep inadequacy and Alzheimer's disease.  So, waking your partner throughout the night with your snoring could not only be affecting your relationship, but their health too.

 

How could my snoring affect my dementia risk?

If you snore heavily, it can be a sign of an obstruction in your airway.  If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea, this obstruction is so severe that the flow of oxygen is reduced or completely stopped while you sleep.  

The diagram below shows just how snoring and sleep apnoea (OSA) can be a sign of your problems breathing properly at night.

The difference between normal breathing, snoring, and apnoea

A study published in the journal Neurology this year found that sleep disordered breathing advanced cognitive decline in the elderly, so making sure your breathing is not obstructed is important to your health

  

How can I stop snoring having an impact?

Products from the Snoreeze Oral Range are designed to tighten and lubricate the soft tissues at the back of the throat, reducing or preventing the snoring that can worsen as we age.  These products can help those with a mild to moderate snoring problem to sleep quietly, reducing the impact snoring has on you and your partner.  

For those with a more severe snoring problem, sprays and other similar treatments may not prove effective.  If you are suffering from severe snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnoea, the Snoreeze Oral Device can really help by making sure you airway does not collapse, creating free space at  the back of your throat and ensuring air can flow through easily while you sleep.  

How the Snoreeze Oral Device stops snoring

The good news is that studies show treatment of sleep apnoea decreases the cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's. So, it's never too late for snoring and sleep apnoea treatment to have a positive impact on not only your sleep, but your mind and body.  

 

 

 

Will you still want to go to bed with them when they're 50?

There's nothing worse than drifting off to sleep, only to be woken by your partner letting out a growl like a hibernating bear.  Snorers are no fun to share a bed with, and statistics show that snoring is a problem that becomes much more common as we get older. 

 

How common is it?

The Snoreeze survey carried out by YouGov found that 68% of 18-24 year olds in the UK have a partner that snores at some point.  However, the figure skyrockets to 91% for those over 45!  

Almost half (48%) of those aged over 45 said they feel irritable the next day if their sleep has been disturbed.  Of those aged 45+ with a snoring partner:

  •  70% said their partner’s snoring has had an impact on their lives somehow
  • 58% said that they have shaken, nudged, or kicked their partner in order to stop their snoring
  • 26% said they had slept in a separate room to get a better sleep
  • Only 11% had ever purchased a snoring relief product – meaning that there are a lot of partners across the UK still struggling to sleep

 

 Why does getting older have an effect?

There is no one simple cause for snoring.  The main reason people snore is because of relaxed muscle tension in the upper airway.  This causes the airway to narrow and the soft tissues to vibrate, creating the irritating snoring sound. 

As we get older, a general loss of muscle tone takes place all over our bodies.  This is even true for the muscles in our throat; meaning the tissues are more likely to vibrate,  making us all more likely to be snorers!  

 

 What can I do?

Being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking, and some prescription medicines can all cause snoring, so some lifestyle changes may help you or your partner to sleep more quietly.

Snoring relief products such as throat sprays, oral strips, and throat rinses can provide a solution for the majority of snorers.  They tone and lubricate the soft tissues, reducing or preventing snoring for up to 8 hours.  View our products page to see what Snoreeze product is right for you or your partner.

Every relationship has its problems, but snoring doesn’t need to be one of them.  Small lifestyle changes and snoring relief products can help to make sure that your bedroom doesn’t become a noisy nightmare.

 

 

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