Sleep disorders affect men and women differently, according to new study

While sleep disorders affect women and men at about the same age – the symptoms have markedly different effects on their lives.

New research from the SleepGP clinic in Coolangatta, Australia suggests women are more sensitive to the effects of sleep disorders than men (49% compared to 36.9 % for men).

Women were found to have had more severe symptoms of depression, trouble sleeping at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

“We found that females were more likely to have sleeping disorders associated with daytime sleepiness,” stated co-author Dr. John Malouf, founder of SleepGP sleep clinic.

Scientists conducted a retrospective clinical audit of 744 patients who received sleep-related health care from seven private general practices in Australia between April 2013 and January 2015.

Patients completed a variety of sleep-related questionnaires induing the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Snoring Severity Scale (SSS), and the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire 10.

The main purpose of the study was to discover the difference in functional status between sexes when they present sleep problems to primary care providers.

“What was surprising about the results was that while men and women tended to present at a similar age, their symptoms and the effect on their lives differed markedly,” according to lead author Allegra Boccabella, research associate at SleepGP clinic. “We didn’t expect there to be differences across the board in terms of the different aspects of people’s lives.”

The research found that women have greater difficulty concentrating and remembering things due to their day-time sleepiness.

The authors of the study reported that understanding how the symptoms differ among men and women can help medical professional manage sleep disorders more holistically.

“If we can identify the ways that their lives are affected, we can help produce better outcomes for the patient,” said Boccabella.

Study results are published in the May 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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