Women’s Sleep Issues

woman yawningIt is estimated that approximately 15 million American women have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can affect women at any age, and is associated with other serious conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart failure and stroke. Pregnant women are at increased risk for developing sleep apnea as their weight gain puts increased pressure on their chest and neck, and the chronic oxygen deprivation experienced by women with untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of serious damage to their baby. Snoring during pregnancy may be an indication of developing sleep apnea, and should not be ignored.  At the other end of the spectrum, a woman’s risk for sleep apnea increases as she transitions through menopause, so that a post-menopausal woman is up to three times more likely to have OSA compared to a premenopausal woman.

Studies have shown that women tend to have different types of sleep apnea related complaints than men, with more insomnia, disrupted sleep, chronic fatigue and depression. Since these aren’t the classic symptoms of sleep apnea, they are often attributed to being caused by something else. Also, women tend to be more “vigilant” sleepers and are more likely to worry about their bed-partners sleep.  Men are typically more sound sleepers and may be less likely to even be aware of abnormal sleep in their bed-partner.

Women & sleep apnea facts

woman fell asleep

  • Almost 40% of newly diagnosed sleep apnea patients are women
  • The risk of sleep apnea in women after menopause is equal to that of men
  • Insomnia and morning headaches are often the main indicators of sleep apnea in women
  • Women who snore are about twice as likely to have high blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea is related to a higher risk of depression and dementia in women

If you suspect you or someone you love may have sleep apnea after reading this, navigate back to our home page and select the tabs labelled “Sleepiness Survey” and “Bed Partner Survey”.  If you have concerns after reviewing the results, call us at Sleep Solutions Northwest for a consultation.