Sex differences in sleep and sleep loss-induced cognitive deficits: The influence of gonadal hormones.


Department of Neuroscience, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran. Electronic address: [Email]


Males and females can respond differentially to the same environmental stimuli and experimental conditions. Chronic sleep loss is a frequent and growing problem in many modern societies and has a broad variety of negative outcomes for health and well-being. While much has been done to explore the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation (SD) on cognition in both human and animal studies over the last few decades, very little attention has been paid to the part played by sex differences and gonadal steroids in respect of changes in cognitive functions caused by sleep loss. The effects of gonadal hormones on sleep regulation and cognitive performances are well established. Reduced gonadal function in menopausal women and elderly men is associated with sleep disturbances and cognitive decline as well as dementia, which suggests that sex steroids play a key role in modulating these conditions. Finding out whether there are sex differences in respect of the effect of insufficient sleep on cognition, and how neuroendocrine mediators influence cognitive impairment induced by SD could provide valuable insights into the best therapies for each sex. In this review, we aim to highlight the involvement of sex differences and gonadal hormone status on the severity of cognitive deficits induced by sleep deficiency in both human and animal studies.


Cognitive function,Gonadal steroids,Sex differences,Sleep and memory,Sleep deprivation,