Introduction: There is a strong link between female sex hormones and sleep. This implies the existence of sex differences both in the structure of sleep as in the incidence of various sleep disorders.
Aim: To review the changes in the pattern of sleep experienced by women along different stages of their life cycle (fertile period, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause and postmenopause), as well as the most frequent sleeping pathologies in which there exist more gender differences (insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, restless legs syndrome and narcolepsy).
Development: About normal sleeping has been reported a higher quality of it, in women compared with men (increased sleeping time, reduced sleep onset latency, and a greater efficiency of sleeping), but they frequently complain of sleep problems. Moreover, different stages in the life of women are associated with significant physiological and hormonal changes that favour the disruption of normal sleep pattern and by this way, possibly, increase risk to suffer sleep disorders.
Conclusions: The reasons that underlie in gender differences in sleeping disorders are attributed to differences in normal sleep pattern, in the clinical manifestations and risk factors for sleep disorders, and in the results and optimal dose of treatments.