According to the latest health survey, more than 20 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea with hundreds of millions more cases presenting around the world. While this sleep disorder is more prevalent amongst men, many women suffer from it too and the symptoms tend to differ between the genders. What is constant is that the debilitating health consequences of sleep apnea are equally as serious and are contributing to an unhealthier and heavier society.
The Gender Sleep DifferencesMen and women inherently display different sleep patterns, which is largely a result of the different cocktail of chemicals our bodies produce, as well as some key anatomical differences:
- Women require deep sleep more than men,
- Women are more likely to suffer from daytime fatigue, depression and insomnia,
- Women tend to wake up and go to bed earlier than men,
- Women tend to have a slightly shorter circadian cycle than men,
- Men tend to deal with sleep deprivation differently to women.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Women Versus MenIn 2013, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found that men are far more likely (twice as likely) to have obstructive sleep apnea than women. Strong evidence was also found that female sufferers of sleep apnea tend to be more affected in the brain regions that are responsible for decision-making and moods, which may account for the following observations:
- Women with sleep apnea often complain of depression, fatigue and anxiety.
- Men with sleep apnea complain more of loud snoring, snorting or choking themselves awake and gasping for air.