For sleep issues in men, though there is little definitive evidence, recent studies suggest that there are significant differences in sleep patterns between men and women. What is known, however, is that men are less likely than women to suffer from insomnia, but more likely to develop sleep apnea. It could also simply be the case that men may experience sleep apnea symptoms differently from women. According to the National Sleep Foundation, obstructive sleep apnea is frequently misdiagnosed in women compared to men – it is often mistaken for depression or hypertension.
While each individual has his own unique sleep habits and patterns, there are certain common signs that indicate you are not getting enough sleep – they include:
- Feeling tired or low in energy during the day
- Having a hard time focusing on work or school
- Feeling unmotivated or having trouble getting going
- Starting to doze off when not focused on an activity
- Feeling grouchy, irritable, or losing your temper
There are many reasons why you might not be getting the sleep you need. Sometimes there simply are not enough hours in the day to fulfill your work and family obligations in addition to getting a full night’s sleep. Even if you do have enough time to get a full night’s sleep, the quality of your sleep might still be poor. Stress, significant life changes, dietary habits, and lifestyle changes can all impact your quality of sleep. Certain medical conditions like asthma, arthritis, heart disease, and epilepsy could even be preventing you from sleeping well.
Sleep disorders can affect both men and women but some of the disorders that tend to affect men more frequently include obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and delayed sleep phase disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which you experience pauses in breathing while asleep – this can happen just a few times each night or hundreds of times per night. Even if you do not become fully conscious, these pauses in breathing wake you up and interrupt your sleep, causing you to feel unrested in the morning, even if you were in bed for 8 hours.
Sleep Issues in Men: Narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a condition which causes you to suddenly fall asleep, often while engaging in normal daily activities like walking, eating, or driving. This condition typically develops in men between the ages of 12 and 20 and it can stay with you for the duration of your life – it will not get better without some kind of treatment. Medications are usually effective in treating narcolepsy and in helping you to achieve a normal sleep pattern. Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSP) occurs when you get into the habit of going to bed very late and it can make it difficult for you to fall asleep during normal sleep hours – you may also have a hard time waking in the morning.
Though certain sleep conditions require medical treatment, many sleep issues can be resolved by cultivating good sleep hygiene. Here are some general tips to improve your sleep hygiene:
- Make an effort to go to bed and get up at the same times each day.
- Give yourself a full 7 to 8 hours per day that is reserved for sleep.
- Wind down about 30 minutes before sleep – turn off the TV, put away your phone or computer, and try to relax.
- Keep your room dark and comfortable for sleep – use blackout curtains if necessary and, if needed, use something for white noise.
- Avoid drinking too much caffeine, especially late in the afternoon when it could keep you from sleeping.