Sex and Gender Differences in Sleep Disorders: An Overview

Fidaa Shaib*, Hrayr Pierre Attarian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Both normal sleep physiology and sleep disorders have gender-specific features. Gender bias in medicine has resulted in women not being diagnosed in a timely manner with such serious disorders as obstructive sleep apnea and has led to misdiagnosis of primary sleep disorders as depression. Below we highlight the specific diagnostic, therapeutic, and epidemiologic aspects of sleep disorders in women. The first section is about the unique presentation of insomnia throughout a woman's life span with specific pharmacological considerations when dealing with sedative hypnotics. The second section is on the symptomatology of sleep apnea in women and the impact it has on their health, particularly during pregnancy as well as that of other sleep related breathing disorders. The third section is on Restless Legs Syndrome and its relationship with pregnancy and lastly we discuss the impact of shift work on women's health particularly in relation with gynecological cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrinciples of Gender-Specific Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationGender in the Genomic Era: Third Edition
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780128035061
StatePublished - May 15 2017


  • Cancer
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Gender
  • Insomnia
  • Menopause
  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Shift work disorder
  • Sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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