Here are some interesting facts…
1. Sleep prior to puberty is very similar for girls and boys. Gender-specific differences generally emerge during puberty and suggest a major role in neuroendocrine hormones and emotions.
2. Insomnia is much more common in women. With the onset of menses, there is an almost a three-fold increase in the risk of insomnia in girls. There is some suggestion that insomnia is associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle each month, correlating with low levels of progesterone. In addition, anxiety and depression are more common in women and are associated with insomnia.
3. Women sleep more on average than men, but less efficient and complain of more fatigue throughout the day. This may be that they are “lighter sleepers,” but also that they are concerned with many different responsibilities that tend to occupy their minds while sleeping.
4. In both men in woman it is paramount to consider obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as an underlying medical condition to account for abnormal sleep patterns. In many studies OSA is independently associated with an increased likelihood of hypertension, stroke, heart failure, or worsening diabetes and for many years was regarded as a “man’s disease.” OSA presents differently in men and women. Men present with episodes of apnea witnessed by bed partners or snoring and women present more atypical symptoms such as daytime fatigue, depression and palpitations. More research is needed to determine women’s adherence to and clinical responsiveness to standard treatment modalities.
5. Researchers have found a number of differences between men and women in regards to the content of their dreams. Women describe their dreams in more detail and, typically, there are more people involved in the dream. Also, women dream more about being in an indoor setting and men more outdoors and in the wilderness. Men have much more aggressive dreams.
6. Zolpidem (ambien) is the most widely used sleep aid and research has shown that men metabolize the drug much faster than women. Therefore, it is important to consider lower doses in women to avoid daytime drowsiness or difficult awakening from sleep.