High Risk of Sleep Disorder Burden in Transgender Youth: Ronald Gavidia, MD, MS


The clinical assistant professor in the division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, spoke about sleep disorders associated with transgender youths. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“The most important part is to inform people that the transgender community has more sleep disorders than the cisgender population and the use of gender affirming therapy may help.”

Presently, there has been few reported studies on sleep disorders in individuals who identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming (TGNC). In addition, the role of gender-affirming therapy (GAT) in sleep disorders with TGNC has not been fully understood or investigated in studies.

In a recent, retrospective, cross-sectional study conducted by Ronald Gavidia, MD, MS, and colleagues, findings showed that there was a high burden of sleep disorders in TGNC youths in comparison with cisgender individuals in the United States.1 The study included 1,216,044 youth, 2603 (0.2%) of which identified as TGNC and 1387 who pursued GAT (transmasculine, n = 868 and transfeminine, n = 519).

The adjusted analysis displayed an increased odds of insomnia (OR = 5.4; 95% CI 4.7-6.2), sleep apnea (OR = 3.0, 95% CI 2.3-4.0), and other sleep disorders (odds ratio = 3.1; 95% Cl 2.5-3.9) in TGNC compared with the cisgender youth. Notably, decreased odds of any sleep disorder were shown in the TGNC youth on GAT (OR= 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4-0.7) in comparison with those not on GAT.

Gavidia, clinical assistant professor in the division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, recently had an interview with NeurologyLive® and provided an overview about the study. He discussed his hypothesis going into the research, and the associations of sleep disorders in transgender youth in the United States. Gavidia also explained what the findings mean for patients that identify within the transgender population and experience insomnia.

1. Gavidia R, Whitney DG, Hershner S, Selkie EM, Tauman R, Dunietz GL. Gender identity and transition: relationships with sleep disorders in US youth. J Clin Sleep Med. 2022;18(11):2553-2559. doi:10.5664/jcsm.10158

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