Healthy sleep is essential to our mood, productivity, wellbeing, and health. It remains an underappreciated fact that more women than men are at risk of untreated sleep disorders. The majority of sleep care provided is based on evidence that comes from studies done predominately in men. However, biological conditions unique to women, like menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, can affect a woman's sleep. Fortunately, there is a growing body of knowledge about women and sleep disorders and how they differ from men. Differences between women and men have been identified throughout the entire spectrum of sleep disorders including sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, from risk factors to symptoms, and from diagnosis to treatment and outcomes.
Women are more prone to some sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep related movement disorders, nocturnal pain, and nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder. Sleep disordered breathing is common in both men and women, and in women the risk increases more than three-fold after menopause. Sleep-disordered breathing is also seen during pregnancy, and may be a risk factor for poor maternal and fetal outcomes. And while the vast majority of shift workers are healthy, shift work poses specific risks to women including irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty getting pregnant, birth complications, and breast cancer.
Women are more likely to elude diagnosis because of non-classic complaints or symptoms. For example, while men with sleep apnea commonly report typical symptoms of snoring and daytime sleepiness, women with sleep apnea are more likely to report nonspecific complaints such as insomnia, depressed mood, and fatigue. As a result, the diagnosis is often delayed or missed in women, and women are more likely to receive alternative diagnoses such as depression for their sleep-related complaints.
The Women's Sleep Health Program (WSHP) at Yale is committed to improving the sleep health of women. We recognize that women are unique and experience different sleep related symptoms than do men. Evaluation and treatment needs to be specifically tailored for each individual woman. Our mission is to improve the sleep health of women by offering evidence-based, sex-specific, personalized, and comprehensive care of sleep disorders.
Women may be referred to Women's Sleep Health at Yale by their physician or may request an appointment on their own.
The Women's Sleep Health Program at Yale offers:
Comprehensive assessment of your sleep complaints by looking at specific risk factors and addressing symptoms related to women's health. Our comprehensive, sex-specific care is provided by an expert team of health care specialists. We are supported by an Internal Referral Network made up of sleep specialists, neurologists, obstetrics/gynecologist, cardiologist, and psychologists.
Specialized diagnostic evaluation that may include specialty consultation, lab work, polysomnography and other sleep testing.
Management through counseling on therapeutic lifestyle changes, use of pharmaceutical medications and prescribed devices, and education that is tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether or not you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder, managing your sleep related risk factors is of utmost importance to your health and well-being. We will help guide you in making healthy lifestyle changes and becoming an active participant in your own sleep health.
Treatment of Sleep Disorders through state-of-the-art therapeutic services, as well as knowledgeable and skilled clinicians who are dedicated to providing the most up-to-date care in the field of women's sleep health. You will have a core health care provider who will treat you or, if necessary, will refer you to one of our designated providers in the Women's Sleep Health Internal Referral Network.
Conditions & Treatments
Differences between women and men have been identified throughout the entire spectrum of sleep disorders, from risk factors to symptoms, and from diagnosis to treatment and outcomes. Fortunately, there is a growing body of knowledge about women and sleep disorders and how they differ from men. Learn more about the following conditions and treatment options specifically tailored for women.
Women's Sleep Health Program Leadership
Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Associate Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary)