Sleep Disorders in Women (cont.)
Sleep Disorders in Women Symptoms
There are 3 common sleep disorder symptoms. Overlap is common.
- Difficulty falling asleep: This problem is more common in younger women. It is often linked to anxiety disorders and a stressful lifestyle.
- Difficulties maintaining sleep: Multiple awakenings during sleep are more common in older women. This symptom may indicate periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD). Arthritis, pain, medications, and the last trimester of pregnancy may cause multiple awakenings during sleep.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness: In older postmenopausal women, PLMD and sleep-disordered breathing may cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Sleep deprivation and narcolepsy are more likely to cause severe sleepiness in younger women.
Exams and Tests fo Sleep Disorders in Women
If you are having sleeping problems, the first step is a detailed medical interview. You will be asked about your medical and psychological problems, physical symptoms, medications, family medical problems, menstrual and pregnancy history, work life, habits, and lifestyle. The next step is a physical examination.
- Polysomnography: Overnight sleep studies or polysomnograms may be done in a sleep disorders center, at home, or in a hospital. Depending on the type of testing performed, the machine records EEG (sleep patterns) breathing patterns, ECG, eye movements, and changes in muscle tone.
- Multiple sleep latency test (MSLT): MSLT measures the level of daytime sleepiness. It is performed during the day following a supervised overnight polysomnogram.
- Sleep log: A sleep log is a diary of your sleep-wake cycles. You will be asked to keep a 2-week diary of sleep and daytime sleepiness. This diary can be helpful in diagnosing circadian rhythm disorders as well as irregular sleep patterns.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2016
Carmel Armon, MD, MHS, MSc
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