al., 1989), childhood (Meijer et al., 2000; Sadeh et al., 2000; Acebo et al., 1996), and adolescence (Giannotti et al., 2002; Laberge et al., 2001). In adults, men spend greater time in stage 1 sleep (Bixler et al., 1984) and experience more awakenings (Kobayashi et al., 1998). Although women maintain SWS longer than men, they complain more often of difficulty falling asleep and midsleep awakenings. In contrast, men are more likely to complain of daytime sleepiness (Ancoli-Israel, 2000).
In women, the menstrual cycle may influence sleep-wake activity; however, methodological challenges have limited the number of conclusive findings (Metcalf, 1983; Leibenluft et al., 1994). There have been a number of studies that suggest that women’s sleep patterns are greatly affected during pregnancy and the postpartum period (Karacan et al., 1968; Hertz et al., 1992; Lee and Zaffke, 1999; Driver and Shapiro, 1992). For example, women often experience considerable daytime sleepiness during pregnancy and during the first few postpartum months, and as will be discussed in greater detail in Chapter 3, they are also at a higher risk of developing restless legs syndrome (Goodman et al., 1998; Lee et al., 2001).
Problematic sleep has adverse effects on all individuals, regardless of age; however, older people typically show an increase in disturbed sleep that can create a negative impact on their quality of life, mood, and alertness (Ancoli-Israel, 2005; Bliwise, 2005). Elderly individuals sleep 36 percent less than children at age 5 (Figure 2-6). Although the ability to sleep becomes more difficult, the need to sleep does not decrease with age (Ancoli-Israel, 2005). Difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep is cited in 43 percent of the elderly (Foley et al., 1995), although these problems are more commonly among adults suffering from depression, respiratory symptoms, and physical disability, among others (Ancoli-Israel, 2005). However, declining sleep efficiency and quality has also been observed in healthy older people (Dijk et al., 2000).
Changes in sleep patterns affect males and females differently. The progressive decrease in SWS is one of the most prominent changes with aging; however, it appears to preferentially affect men. The gender difference is unclear, but it has been suggested that older women have “better-preserved” SWS than men (Reynolds et al., 1985). Women ages 70 and older spend around 15 to 20 percent of total sleep time in stages 3 and 4; men of the same age spend only around 5 percent of total sleep time in stages 3 and 4 (Redline et al., 2004). Another gender contrast is that older women go to bed and wake up earlier than older men, which suggests that body temperature rhythms are phase-advanced in elderly women (Campbell et al., 1989;