Common sleep disorders in women
Sleep disturbances contribute to a high frequency of mental health and cardiovascular diseases with significant gender differences. Women have a higher incidence than men of insomnia and are more likely than men to complain of insomnia, headache, irritability, and fatigue than the ‘‘typical’’ symptoms of loud snoring and apneas during sleep. Reproductive hormones play an important role in sleep in women. In the premenopausal age these hormones have a protective effect on sleep apnea while on pregnancy there is a higher prevalence of sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. Cardiovascular mortality is high in women with obstructive sleep apnea and continuous positive airway pressure therapy improves outcomes in most cases of obstructive sleep apnea. The epidemiology, risk factors, diagnostic criteria, and therapies for the three most common sleep disorders (insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome), along with effects of menopause, pregnancy, and social factors on sleep in women, are key considerations for clinicians caring for female patients across the adult life span.
Key Words: insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, sleep disorders, women