Sleep Health

Sleep is an essential function for overall health and well-being and aids in the body’s ability to maintain proper brain function and physical health. Research suggests a relationship between poor sleep and morbidity and mortality. Sleep disorders are global public health issues that are often unrecognized, under-reported, and incur high economic burden.

Sleep health is affected by many biological, social, and environmental factors, which are in turn influenced by a person’s sex and gender. For example, women and men may have the same sleep problems but present with different clinical symptoms. Nearly one in five women have sleep apnea, a disorder that affects daytime functioning. However, nine in 10 women with sleep apnea are not properly diagnosed because the signs of sleep apnea in women look different from the commonly recognized symptoms noted in men. In women, signs of sleep apnea are often mistaken for depression or menopause.

Sleep Health is part of the SWHR Sleep Health Network, which engages the following focus areas: Narcolepsy and Sleep Health.

Program Goals

  • Review the state of the science concerning sex and gender differences in the clinical research of sleep health and disorders
  • Highlight sleep health issues in women to improve diagnosis, treatment, and management of sleep and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders across the lifespan
  • Facilitate discussions between women and their health care providers to better address women’s sleep health and needs

Facts about Sleep Health


of cases of sleep apnea in women are undiagnosed


higher prevalence of insomnia in women compared to men


of pregnant women report daytime sleepiness and/or difficulty sleeping at night by their third trimester

More about Sleep Health