Studies of sleep across the life cycle in women have utilized both survey and polysomnographic techniques, but have tended to be of small sample size with diverse methodology. As a result, definitive conclusions about the impact of the menstrual cycle and use of oral contraceptives on sleep parameters cannot yet be made. Sleep disruption during pregnancy and postpartum is nearly universal, but effective and practical countermeasures are still needed. Longitudinal studies of sleep in the postpartum period are also lacking. Menopause is associated with insomnia due to several factors including hot flashes, mood disorders and increased sleep-disordered breathing. The use of hormone replacement therapy to treat sleep and other variables is an active area of investigation. In summary, much research is required to fully elucidate the impact of the life cycle on sleep parameters in women.