Effects of progesterone on sleep: a possible pharmacological treatment for sleep-breathing disorders?

Curr Med Chem. 2006;13(29):3575-82. doi: 10.2174/092986706779026200.


Progesterone is present in a wide spectrum of biological activity within a variety of tissues. This hormone is also known to affect reproduction, sleep quality, respiration, mood, appetite, learning, memory and sexual activity. Progesterone exerts a sleep induction or hypnotic effect and is a potent respiratory stimulant that has been associated to a decrease in the number of central and obstructive sleep apnea episodes in men. The literature also contains a substantial amount of data on the effect of apnea in women with obesity-hypoventilation during menopause. This review attempts to outline the specific role of progesterone in normal sleep and breathing as well as its possible therapeutic effects in the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menopause / physiology
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / drug therapy*


  • Progesterone