Sleep Disorders and Gender

Sleep disorders encompass a variety of related conditions, with the common factor being dissatisfaction with the timing, quality, or quantity of sleep, usually resulting in some impairment of personally or socially anticipated daytime functioning. Sleep disorders encompass symptoms like insomnia, narcolepsy, hypersomnolence, breathing-related sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorders, and “parasomnias” like non–rapid eye movement sleep arousal disorders (e.g., sleep walking and sleep terrors), rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (e.g., sleep paralysis), nightmares, and restless legs syndrome.

Gender plays an important role in how people experience, recognize, and interpret the symptoms of sleep disorders and what they do about them. Because social factors often influence sleep duration and sleep quality, the same factors that produce societal gender stratification also affect sleep. ...

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