Previous studies have documented an association between markers of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and metabolic syndrome. However, it is not clear if there are gender or ethnic differences in this association. We examined 6,122 participants aged ≥20 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-08. Metabolic syndrome was defined as the presence of ≥3 of the following components: (1) abdominal obesity, (2) elevated blood triglycerides, (3) low HDL cholesterol, (4) high BP, and (5) hyperglycemia. SDB severity was defined based on an additive summary score including sleep duration, snoring, snorting, and daytime sleepiness. We found that short sleep duration, snoring, snorting, daytime sleepiness and the summary SDB score were significantly associated with metabolic syndrome independent of potential confounders. Compared to those without any sleep disturbance, the multivariable odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of metabolic syndrome among those with three or more sleep disturbances was 3.92 (2.98-5.16). In subgroup analyses, this association was consistently present among men and women and all race-ethnic groups. In summary, SDB was independently associated with metabolic syndrome in a nationally representative sample of US adults.