Men and Women Show Different Signs of Sleep Disorders

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 8:38 pm

Sleep is essential for our bodies to function, but men are typically diagnosed with sleep disorders at a higher rate than women. The most likely reason for this is that men and women show different signs of having a sleep disorder.

Men are more likely to have the common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea which include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Women may be more likely to complain about insomnia, headache, irritability and fatigue. Hormones play an important role in sleep for women. Before menopause, reproductive hormones seem to help protect women from sleep apnea. During pregnancy and after menopause women are much more likely to experience sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. Societal pressures may cause women to deny sleep problems such as snoring.

Chronic sleep deprivation or having poor quality, fragmented sleep can lead to depression, anxiety,  memory problems, heart rhythm changes and can lead to heart attack or stroke. Having a sleep breathing disorder like obstructive sleep apnea causes fragmented, poor quality sleep every night.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of the mouth and throat relax during sleep, fall back and block the airway. The sleeper literally stops breathing. This happens throughout the night and the sleeper briefly wakens to gasp for air but does not remember these episodes in the morning. Most people are diagnosed when a bed partner complains about the loud snoring and gasping noises throughout the night.

If you are a woman who is past age 50 and experiences daytime fatigue or memory problems even though you think you are getting a full  night of sleep you should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. Treating apnea can give you back your energy!

Contact Toccoa, GA sleep apnea dentist Dr. Joe Wilbanks at Wilbanks Smile Center today at 706-886-9439 to schedule a consultation.

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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea

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