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5 Reasons You Can’t Sleep—and What to Do About Them

By Claire Gillespie
Reviewed by Daniel Lew, M.D.
April 26, 2022

If you’re over 40 and can’t sleep, you’re not alone. Women transitioning into menopause—a time of major hormonal, physical, and psychological change—often report difficulties falling asleep and/or staying asleep, known as insomnia. In fact, according to the Sleep Foundation, sleep disorders affect up to 47 percent of perimenopausal women and up to 60 percent of postmenopausal women.

“Disturbed sleep is a common but lesser discussed side effect or symptom that many women experience during the stages of menopause,” says Uma Naidoo, M.D., a nutritional psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Those sleep disturbances during perimenopause and menopause aren’t limited to insomnia, explains Robert Yapundich, M.D., a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist in Hickory, North Carolina, who is also medical director of Aeroflow Sleep, a company that helps patients obtain sleep-apnea supplies. A wide range of sleep disorders may occur independently or at the same time, including obstructive sleep apnea and periodic limb movement.