Washington, DC—Women and their physicians often attribute sleep problems in midlife to the hormonal changes of menopause. Sleep disorders, other illnesses, and life stresses, however, may play a larger role.
The prevalence and severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep-related breathing disorder long regarded as a disease of males, rise dramatically in women after menopause, boosting risks of heart disease and stroke. Symptoms of age-related illnesses, such as restless legs syndrome (RLS), diabetes, and arthritis, also may undermine a woman's sleep, hinder daytime performance, and lower quality of life.
Lamberg L. Menopause Not Always to Blame for Sleep Problems in Midlife Women. JAMA. 2007;297(17):1865-1866. doi:10.1001/jama.297.17.1865