Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Hidden health risk for women:

60% of women are concerned about the impact of a lack of sleep, with sleep apnea thought to effect one-in-two women aged 20-70 years of age.
By Motherpedia
Date: October 21 2014
Tags: sleep,
Editor Rating:
With more than 77% of Australian women feeling tired, sleepy or exhausted each day, there are concerns that many are putting themselves at risk of developing chronic health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease. 
Research conducted for ResMed by Pure Profile shows that women could unknowingly be living with sleep apnea - a condition generally thought to “a man’s disorder” - but women with sleep apnea tend to experience worse health status than men with the same condition.
Even though one-in-two women aged 20-70 years are thought to be living with the condition, evidence suggests women are often under-diagnosed, or diagnosed with other conditions, such as depression, despite complaining to their doctor of a lack of energy, constant tiredness and morning headaches.
In fact, a recent online poll of found that women were more likely to go to a doctor about their sleep than men (24% compared with 20%), but they were less likely to then be referred to a sleep study (8% v 15%).
“There appears to be two issues at play when it comes to women being accurately diagnosed with sleep apnea,” said Professor David Hillman, Chair, Sleep Health Foundation and Director of the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute, Perth. 
“Firstly, when women speak to their doctor they often don’t mention that they snore which is a key indicator for sleep apnea. Rather, they complain of less classic symptoms such as depression or restless legs that don’t trigger suspicions of sleep apnea for doctors.” 
“Furthermore, evidence also suggests women may consider snoring “unladylike” and therefore not mention it to their doctor while also being more likely to attend medical appointments on their own, and so information from a partner on snoring, which may assist in a diagnosis, is not be as readily available as it is for men,” explains Professor Hillman. 
The survey found that three in 10 women (28%) reported they had been told by their partner that they snore but they either didn’t believe them or felt embarrassed so did nothing. 
"With women representing nearly 40% of all newly diagnosed sleep apnea patients, it's important that there are options that consider their unique needs," said Professor Hillman. 
“But it is equally important that Australian women - and their doctors - recognise that feeling sleepy or exhausted during the day, regularly waking up with a headache or constantly having difficulty falling asleep should not be ignored, but investigated further, as they could be signs of significant sleep health issues.” 
“For those women living with sleep apnea, being able to access therapeutic options that help manage the condition could improve quality of life and overall sense of wellbeing for those affected,” said Professor Hillman. 

According to the Mayo clinic, self-care strategies for sleep apnea may include:

  • losing excess weight
  • at least 30 minutes of moderate activity 3-5 times a week
  • avoiding alcohol, tranquilisers and sleeping tablets
  • sleeping on your side or abdomen rather than on your back
  • keeping nasal passages open at night, and
  • if a smoker, stopping. 
Women should discuss any sleep problems with their family doctor. 
* * *
For more information about sleep apnea in women visit
Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Related Articles
Here's a week-long holiday package dedicated to helping you catch-up…
Read more
New research reveals that insufficient sleep is impacting the emotional…
Read more
Good sleep patterns can help men live longer – but…
Read more
Sleep is precious and is an important component of healthier…
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.