Sleep Disorders Common in Transgender Youth

Increased odds seen for insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders
Teenager and doctor at desk in clinic. teen adolescent patient
Teenager and doctor at desk in clinic. teen adolescent patientAdobe Stock

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- There is a high burden of sleep disorders in transgender or gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth versus cisgender youth, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Ronald Gavidia, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used the Optum Clinformatics Data Mart Database to identify youth (ages 12 to 25 years) who obtained a diagnosis of TGNC identity and those who pursued gender-affirming therapy (GAT). Associations between TGNC identity, GAT, and sleep disorders were examined. The analysis included 1.2 million youth, of whom 2,603 (0.2 percent) identified as TGNC.

The researchers observed increased odds of insomnia (odds ratio, 5.4), sleep apnea (odds ratio, 3.0), and other sleep disorders (odds ratio, 3.1) among TGNC versus cisgender youth. Compared with TGNC youth not on GAT, there were decreased odds of any sleep disorder among TGNC youth on GAT (odds ratio, 0.5).

"As mood disorders and insomnia have a bidirectional relationship, gender transition through affirming therapies could improve mental health, which, in turn, may decrease the proportion of insomnia by improving gender dysphoria, poor mood, and minority stress," Gavidia said in a statement. "Given this higher prevalence of sleep disorders in relation to cisgender youth, clinicians should consider screening and testing this population for such disorders."

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