THE STRESSED MIDLIFER

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - COVER STORY -

Midlif­ers of­ten find that their sug­gested seven to nine hours of sleep is dis­turbed by the stresses of hold­ing in­creas­ingly se­nior po­si­tions at work while car­ing for younger and older gen­er­a­tions – and that’s be­fore we throw al­co­hol, caf­feine or lack of reg­u­lar ex­er­cise into the mix. “Mid-adult­hood can cer­tainly feel like the rush-hour years of our lives,” Gre­gory says.

Women have the added noc­tur­nal chal­lenge of hor­monal changes, which can lead to sleep dis­tur­bances. “As we ap­proach the menopause, our over­all oe­stro­gen lev­els de­cline, which causes dis­turbed sleep,” Pen­ni­cotte-Col­lier says. She sug­gests em­ploy­ing vi­su­al­i­sa­tion tech­niques if you wake in the mid­dle of the night, such as imag­in­ing your mus­cles re­lax­ing from the feet up­wards, in­stead of reach­ing for the phone.

But if night wak­ings leave you knack­ered, power naps could be the an­swer. If you work in an en­light­ened com­pany there might be a sleep pod avail­able (many tech com­pa­nies have them). If not, your lo­cal gym might have one, such as the David Lloyd clubs (na­tion­wide) which have a nap class, or Third Space (thirdspace. co.uk). For those who work at home the an­swer is sim­ple: spray This Works Power Nap Spray (£28; this­works.com), the lat­est in the sleep range and set an alarm for 20 min­utes – any more and you’ll slip into deep sleep and wake up feel­ing groggy. “Stud­ies show that those who’d had a nap per­formed much bet­ter on cog­ni­tive tests than those who didn’t,” Pen­ni­cotte-Col­lier says. Want to su­per­charge your nap? Have a cup of cof­fee just be­fore you hit the pil­low; you’ll wake up rar­ing to go.

HOW DO YOU SLEEP? STEPHEN CRONK, 54 CO-FOUNDER OF MIRABEAU EN PROVENCE

“I get up at around 7am, of­ten after a fit­ful night of sleep. I take around 60-70 flights a year, so my sleep is of­ten in­ter­rupted by jet lag, and I find it hard to sleep in ho­tels.

“My wife and I spent two years build­ing our house in the most re­mote, peace­ful spot in Provence, but when we moved in we dis­cov­ered our neigh­bour has hunt­ing dogs who bark for hours in the mid­dle of the night. So, iron­i­cally, we use a white noise ma­chine and we go to bed with the sound of a jet en­gine to mask the dogs.

“About three times a week I have a 10-minute nap in my of­fice at 3pm. I ar­range some cush­ions and wake up feel­ing re­freshed. My wife and I both go to bed by 10pm, but we of­ten both wake up in the mid­dle of the night, ob­sess­ing about our busi­ness (mirabeauwine.com). We are both guilty of reach­ing for our phones in the night, so I’m try­ing to ban them from the bed­room.”

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