What are the sexual predilections of pediatric sleep disorders?

Updated: Oct 09, 2018
  • Author: Sufen Chiu, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Sex differences in sleep-wake disorders may be associated with sex roles and/or hormonal changes. Insomnia is more common in females and onset is more likely with the birth of a child or with menopause. During the first few years after menarche, females may experience menses associated periodic hypersomnia. In assessing narcolepsy, females may report fatigue instead of sleepiness and underreport snoring.

During NREM sleep arousal disorders, females are more likely to have eating behaviors. During childhood, sleepwalking occurs more often in females but sleep terrors are more common in males. In contrast, in adulthood, sleepwalking occurs more often in males but the sex ratio for sleep terrors is even. Adult females report having nightmares more often than males.

RLS is more common in females without diagnostic differences. The prevalence of RLS during pregnancy is 2–3 times greater than in the general population. It peaks during the third trimester and improves/resolves after delivery. Nulliparous (never pregnant) females are at the same risk for RLS as males. OSAS is, in contrast, more common in boys. [8]

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