An Independent news report explores the possible reasons why middle-aged women may develop insomnia.

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the University of Surrey’s sleep research centre, says reaching middle age creates a perfect storm of conditions for poor sleep; as work and family commitments peak in tandem, sleep becomes the first area of the 24-hour day that people look to cut back on.

Longer commutes, longer working hours and the constant pressure to be electronically accessible at all times, day or night, combine to undermine our natural sleep patterns even further.

But it’s not just that we make less time for sleep as we get older; we also become less efficient sleepers – the ageing process means our bodies fall into deep sleep less naturally, and we’re more easily roused by internal or external stimuli, which is why the middle-aged may experience insomnia for the first time in their life.

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