Sleep apnea is not just an "old man's problem." Women, too, often suffer from this and other sleep disorders. But like cardiovascular disease, the medical profession and people in general often don't think that women are effected by these disorders. But according to the National Sleep Foundation, women are twice as likely as men to have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Recently, sleep breathing disorders such as insomnia, poor sleep, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are being identified more and more in women, not just men.
Poor sleep is dangerous in both men and women, but current research has demonstrated that it may be more dangerous in women! Poor sleep is related to an increase in psychological distress and is associated with an elevated risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Women sleeping poorly also experience higher levels of psychological distress and feeling of hostility, depression and anger than men seem to experience.
Women experience snoring and sleep apnea less often than men, but not after the onset of menopause. Progesterone and estrogen may protect against sleep breathing problems, but since these hormones are produced less after menopause, snoring and sleep apnea may develop.
The following brief quiz from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine may show you how healthy your sleep may be. If you answer "true" more than twice, you may want to discuss this quiz with Dr. Shankland.