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Community members reveal changes in their sleep patterns, and methods to improve sleep quality

by Aiden

Are you sleepless in the city?

By Amornrat Sidhu

Growing older is one of life’s cruel jokes. Many associate growing older with the onset of wrinkles, the appearance of white hair, and other physical markers. But there are internal changes too – for example, new battles with sleep.

While the general advice is to age gracefully and accept the changes, how do you do that when you can’t sleep?


1. Not being able to fall asleep quickly
2. Not achieving deep (REM) sleep when asleep 3. Waking up frequently throughout the night

Each or a combination of the above results in a feeling of exhaustion, lowered concentration, increased anxiety, and tendencies of dependencies on various substances, which in turn continue to heighten sleeplessness.


Trouble sleeping isn’t just the domain of septuagenarians – it can hit us at any age, especially at middle age, the period between young adulthood and old age. This age range, including the 30s, are seldom discussed when it comes to changes in sleep. Consequently, many people in middle age struggle alone.

However, research supports that changes in sleep behavior during our 30s and 40s is prevalent, due to mounting pressures from being a parent and a professional, whilst juggling other roles. Stress and anxiety peak in this age range, and while biologically, our sleep patterns and tendencies should mirror those in our 20s, we often cannot sleep due to external and internal pressures.

If you’re in this age range and have trouble sleeping, you’re not alone! We’ve asked community members who reveal changes in their sleep patterns, as well as their tried and tested tactics to achieve improved quality of sleep.



Have you noticed any changes in your sleep patterns or quality as you have been getting older?

There are some noticeable changes in my sleep patterns, likely caused by stress and anxiety. When I was younger, I did have immense pressure when completing my Law degree, and I remember having trouble sleeping then. However, that was a justified and temporary phase ofdisrupted sleep.

Now, there are new anxieties around achieving work-life balance whilst being a working professional, for example, and these things were not relevant when I was younger. Certain anxieties are also more generalised now, rather than focused on a particular challenge, like passing an exam.

What are your specific challenges in getting good sleep?

The main challenge I encounter is disconnecting from social media and getting to bed early enough to get sufficient sleep. I have noticed that I have better quality sleep on the days I unplug earlier in the evening. This, again, also speaks to finding a work-life balance.

What are some tactics that you employ to get good sleep?

Besides resolving to distance myself from social media, one of the tactics I have found particularly useful is ambient music. My go-to is the “Bedtime Beats” playlist on Apple Music. It gets updated regularly, so I do not have any favourites, but it always manages to calm me down enough to drift off to sleep.


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Have you noticed any changes in your sleep pattern or quality as you have been getting older?

I don’t usually have trouble sleeping. My disrupted sleep and sleep deprivation are purely situational as I am the mother of a six-month old baby.

Do you have any particular challenges to getting good sleep?

Luckily, my support system is strong, so while my husband or the nanny tend to my daughter at night and relieve me of many responsibilities, my main challenge for continued and restful sleep is to accommodate exclusive pumping. No matter what, I have to be up a few times a night in order to secure enough milk for my baby.

Do you have any tips for others to get good sleep?

This is not much of a tactic, but it really takes a village to raise a baby and my ‘village’ is very helpful. In the day, I can really ‘nap when the baby naps’ at times, and I can squeeze in a nap when my parents or my hands-on husband are with the baby. My husband is a teacher and gets plenty of holidays, so he is home more than most fathers, and this allows me the gifts of help and sleep.


Regional Operations Director at Junior Achievement Asia Pacific

Have you noticed any changes in your sleep patterns as you’ve been getting older?

It’s getting harder for me to fall asleep every night. Sometimes, I toss and turn for an hour just waiting for my brain to rest as thoughts run through my mind. I think as we get older, the list of responsibilities we have multiply, the pressure to make it in life builds, and the expectations we carry from our various roles in life rest heavy on our shoulders.

What are some of your specific sleep challenges?

Besides falling asleep, I would be lucky if I got a few hours of good old-fashioned deep sleep. Recently, I monitored my sleep and my REM cycle is only 20 minutes, contributing to often feeling exhausted and the inability to function at my full potential.

What are some of the tactics you employ to get good sleep?

When I consulted a specialist on this matter, melatonin and sleeping pills were recommended to me. I preferred to experiment with more natural, safer options and found that drinking chamomile and listening to calming music worked occasionally. Staying off my phone for an hour before bed would also provide more uninterrupted sleep and help me feel more energised during the day. However, what has the best track record with me is either reciting Sohila in my head or exercising naam japna (chanting Waheguru in my head). I might not even be able to complete this short prayer, I am out cold before completion. Tried and tested!

Other tried and tested strategies that members of the community have employed to attain higher quality sleep:

  • Calming prayers and mantras

  • Deep breathing exercises from pranayama, yoga, or otherwise

  • Sleep hypnosis videos

  • Cannabis-infused gummies

  • CBD Oil

  • The Butterfly Hug

  • EFT (The Tapping Technique)

  • Using f.lux to eliminate blue light if working on devices are necessary before sleep, or wearing blue light-blocking glasses

  • Talking to friends (sleep difficulties are so much more common than you think)

  • Have a set night time routine where you unwind

  • Set boundaries (e.g. no work after 10 pm)

  • Watching TV

  • No caffeine after a certain time. Notice your body’s response to caffeine.

  • Talktosomeoneaboutyourstrugglessuchasfamilymembersorafriend, and if that is not enough, speak to a professional.

    • You may find out that you are not alone, and this alone can help normalise how you are feeling and alleviate some of the burden.

    • You may gather tips and tricks that are right for you.


Just as every individual is different, everyone’s relationship with sleep is, too, and ever-changing. Every day may be different. Weeks of sleep may be the same and then soul-crushing fear and stress stay on your bed for the next month to come.

We’ve realised that more of us in the community than we know struggle with anxiety and stress, both related to sleep, or that drastically affect sleep. Because every individual’s experience with sleep anxiety is unique, it can make dealing with it a lonely path, and explaining it to someone requires vulnerability. But we hope that knowing you’re not alone, and these tips from those who’ve been through similar experiences as you, will help you sleep.

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