Like women, the demand on a man’s sleep is great. A full night’s rest may seem like more of an option than a necessity in the context of a full time career, social life, and possibly a family. A lack of sleep may even be seen as an accomplishment, not a threat to well being. Worse yet, men tend to minimize the symptoms of sleep disorders when they arise.
Sleep Problems in Men
The following list, though not comprehensive, describes the most common sleep issues faced by men:
Career: A full time career sometimes requires more than eight hours per day. Long hours, overtime and weekends may be routine. Long commutes in traffic add several hours per week to an already busy schedule. While at home, paperwork, telephone calls, or work on the computer may further extend the work day. When sleep is finally possible, job-related stress keeps some men awake at night. Both men and women experience sleep issues related to their career. For both, good sleep habits may seem impossible to integrate into the work place.
Full Schedule: Men who experience sleep problems related to their career are also likely to find their schedules full in other ways. The demands of fatherhood take time, even more so, of course, for single fathers. Although the need for nighttime care diminishes after the first year, single parents are alone at parenting in their household. Involvements such as neighborhood or civic activities, church membership, or social events with family members can easily fill a day. Even healthy goals such as going to the gym for a workout take time. Balancing active time with down time as well as sleep means more compromise than some men are willing to make.
Male Reproductive Issues: Certain male reproductive problems occur during sleep. Sleep-Related Painful Erections are a parasomnia that involves painful enough erections during REM or dream sleep to arouse or awaken a man. The absence of non-painful erections during REM sleep, conversely, indicates other health issues. The condition, which is uncommon, is associated with repeated awakenings; sleep deprivation; daytime tiredness, anxiety or irritability. Diagnosis may be confirmed by a special type of overnight polysomnography at an accredited sleep disorders center. If an underlying illness is found to precipitate the episodes, then it will have to be treated in order to treat this parasomnia. Otherwise, it may be treated with medication.
Pain and Sleep: Men and women may both experience pain as a result of illness or injury, especially with aging. However, the most likely reasons for their pain differs. Pain related to illnesses such as cancer, arthritis or Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) may disrupt the sleep of either gender. However, back, groin and testicular pain commonly occurs in men. They are likely to injure themselves from lifting or moving heavy objects. Managing pain through lifestyle modifications, good sleep habits and possibly medication will not only improve sleep but maximize good health.
Common Sleep Disorders in Men:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Poor Sleep Hygiene
Restless Legs Syndrome