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Aging & Sleep: The Science Behind Why You May Have Trouble Sleeping

Key Takeaways:

  • Changing circadian rhythms and melatonin production, as well as occasional joint discomfort and menopausal symptoms are reasons that older adults may have difficulty sleeping.
  • Supplements can help both the causes of occasional sleeplessness — such as joint discomfort and menopausal symptoms — and occasional sleeplessness itself.*

Most people expect changes as they age, but one thing that many people don’t expect to change is their ability to get a good night’s sleep. 

Let’s take a look at why older adults may have more difficulty sleeping, and some science-backed ways that may help you get the rest you deserve.


Do older people need less sleep?

Let’s begin by answering this important question: do older people need less sleep? The short answer? No. Many older adults have trouble sleeping at night, but that doesn’t mean they need less sleep. You should always aim to get between 7–9 hours of sleep each night.1


How does aging affect sleep? 

Aging & circadian rhythms 

Older adults may experience a decrease in both the quality and duration of their sleep. Many of these changes have to do with the body’s internal clock: approximately 20,000 cells that form the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).2

The SCN controls your circadian rhythms — 24-hour daily cycles that control when you get hungry, when you feel sleepy, when you feel alert, and more.

As you age, your SCN may change, disrupting your circadian rhythms and affecting when you feel tired or alert.3

Read more: Sleep stages, circadian rhythms, & why they matter

Aging & melatonin production 

Melatonin is a natural hormone your body produces in response to darkness. Melatonin is a key part of a healthy circadian rhythm because it helps you feel tired at night when it’s time for bed. 

However, melatonin levels gradually decrease over your lifespan. The decrease in melatonin as you age may be another factor in why older adults have lowered sleep efficacy.4

Menopause & sleep 

As women approach their late forties and early fifties, it’s common for symptoms of perimenopause and menopause to begin. And while it is a natural stage in a woman’s life, menopause can occasionally cause many uncomfortable symptoms — including trouble sleeping. 

Women who experience trouble sleeping during menopause often do so because of hot flashes. As many as 80% of women experience hot flashes when going through menopause.5

Sudden sensations of heat, perspiration, flushing, and even chills can cause sleepless nights. Thankfully, Solgar® Menopause Relief helps to manage a full range of common physical and emotional occasional menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and sleep disturbances.*

Read more: 5 tips for a happier menopause


Best supplement for menopause & sleep 

Solgar® Menopause Relief combines two clinically-studied ingredients: Siberian Rhubarb (ERr-731®) – and helps relieve a full range of the most common menopausal symptoms, such as:

  • Hot flashes*
  • Night sweats*
  • Irritability*
  • Anxiety*
  • Mood swings*
  • Sleep disturbances*
  • Exhaustion*
  • Joint & muscle discomfort*
  • Vaginal dryness*
  • Urinary difficulties*
  • Decreased sexual desire & satisfaction*

affron™ Saffron helps to maintain a positive mood and support emotional wellbeing.*

More than 90% of women showed improvements in common menopausal symptoms*, and results were seen in as little as 28 days.†^*

†As studied on Siberian Rhubarb and measured by the Menopause Rating Scale II; individual variations in symptoms or severity of symptoms experienced during menopause may exist.

^ In clinical studies on Siberian rhubarb after 12 weeks of continued use. Individual results may vary.

Joint discomfort & sleep 

Occasional joint discomfort and sleep problems are closely linked. No doubt, it can be difficult to doze off or stay asleep when you have stiff, achy, or swollen joints from exercise or everyday physical activities. What’s worse is that the relationship between joint discomfort and sleep is multidirectional — joint discomfort can disrupt sleep, and a lack of sleep can actually make occasional joint discomfort worse.6 

The good news? Supplements can help support joint comfort.*


Best supplements for joint health 

Solgar® No.7 

Solgar® No.7® is a unique formula specifically designed to support joint health. It starts improving joint comfort in just five days✝ and helps increase joint mobility and flexibility.*

This breakthrough formula contains:

  • Undenatured UC-II® Standardized Cartilage — supports comfortable joint movement and range of motion.* 
  • 5-Loxin Advanced® — clinically studied to support joint health and function.* Helps with occasional joint stiffness.* 
  • Ester-C® — supports your body’s collagen production. Collagen (found in joints) may wear due to aging, injuries, and overuse. This unique, stomach-friendly form of Vitamin C also delivers immune system support.*
  • Botanical Extracts — turmeric, ginger, and white willow bark; often used in traditional herbal wellness practices.
  • BioPerine® — supports turmeric absorption*

Solgar® Extra Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM with Ester-C® is specially designed to nourish your joints and cartilage. This formula helps maintain flexibility, mobility, and comfortable movement. It also contains Ester-C® to support joint health by helping to maintain enzymes necessary for collagen formation in their active state.*


Supplements to help you sleep

Supplements are one of the best ways to help you get the sleep you deserve. Whether you’re looking for a sleep supplement with or without melatonin, we have quality, science-backed options for you. 

Sleep supplements with melatonin 

Solgar® Triple Action Sleep Tri-Layer Tablets

With three layers of ingredients, this unique formula can help you stay asleep longer and wake up feeling refreshed during times of occasional sleeplessness.* 

Each tablet contains:

  • Melatonin: an important factor in your sleep-wake cycle that’s supplied as both quick-release melatonin to help you fall asleep faster and time-release melatonin to help you stay asleep longer.*
  • L-Theanine: an amino acid that interacts with neurotransmitter GABA to support a calm and relaxed mood.*
  • Nighttime Herbal Blend: made up of chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and valerian root extracts.

This advanced sleep supplement leverages clinically-studied time-release melatonin that is released throughout the night to work with your body’s natural sleep cycle to help you stay asleep.*

Solgar® Liquid Melatonin

A single 1 mL drop of this cherry-flavored liquid melatonin at bedtime can help with occasional sleeplessness, jet lag, and works with your circadian rhythm so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and revitalized!*


Supplements for relaxation 

If you prefer taking supplements without melatonin, there are still many great options. 5-HTP is a great way to promote a state of relaxation, and magnesium can help alleviate occasional stress.*

Solgar® 5-HTP

5-HTP is an amino acid that supports your brain’s production of serotonin.* This ingredient helps to promote both a positive mood and a state of relaxation.*

And, it’s non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, and halal!

Best magnesium supplement 

Solgar® Magnesium Citrate 

Solgar® Magnesium Citrate tablets help:

  • Alleviate occasional stress*
  • Maintain proper nerve and muscle function*
  • Support bone health*
  • Support heart health*
  • Maintain cellular energy levels*

Our formula uses magnesium citrate, a highly absorbable form of magnesium.



Summing it up 

Changing circadian rhythms and melatonin production, as well as occasional joint discomfort and menopausal symptoms, are some reasons you may have more trouble sleeping as you get older. Thankfully, there are science-backed supplements that can help with all of these things. And remember to speak with your healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement routine. 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Solgar® site.

†Based on three human studies with 5-LOXIN® Advanced where subjects rated their joint health over time, subjects’ joint health improved within 7 days, and continued to improve throughout the duration of the studies.

5-LOXIN ADVANCED® is a registered trademark of PLT Health Solutions – Laila Nutraceuticals, LLC. U.S. Patent #8,551,496 and patents pending

UC-II® is a Lonza trademark, registered in the USA.

Ester-C® is a registered trademark of The Ester C Company.

BioPerine® is a registered trademark of Sabinsa Corporation