Sleep is an essential physiological process, especially for proper brain function through the formation of new pathways and processing information and cognition. Therefore, when sleep is insufficient, this can result in pathophysiologic conditions.
Sleep deficiency is a risk factor for various conditions, including dementia, diabetes, and obesity. Recent studies have shown that there are differences in the prevalence of sleep disorders between genders. Insomnia, the most common type of sleep disorder, has been reported to have a higher incidence in females than in males. However, sex/gender differences in other sleep disorder subtypes are not thoroughly understood. Currently, increasing evidence suggests that gender issues should be considered important when prescribing medicine. Therefore, an investigation of the gender-dependent differences in sleep disorders is required.
In this review, we first describe sex/gender differences not only in the prevalence of sleep disorders by category but in the efficacy of sleep medications. In addition, we summarize sex/gender differences in the impact of sleep disorders on incident dementia. This may help understand gender-dependent pathogenesis of sleep disorders and develop therapeutic strategies in men and women.