Sex differences in sleep: the response to sleep deprivation and restraint stress in mice

Koehl, M., Battle, S. & Meerlo, P., 2006, In : Sleep. 29, 9, p. 1224-1231

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Copy link to clipboard


  • 2006SleepKoehl.pdf

    Final publisher's version, 3.77 MB, PDF document

Study Objectives: Numerous clinical studies and sleep surveys have shown pronounced sex differences in the occurrence of insomnia and other sleep pathologies. It has been suggested that sex differences in sleep, while subtle under baseline conditions, may increase in magnitude under biological or environmental challenges. However, controlled and experimental studies on sleep under challenged conditions rarely include female subjects. In this context, we examined sex differences in sleep in the mouse, not only under baseline conditions, but also after sleep deprivation and restraint stress.

Design: Adult male and female C57BL/6J mice were implanted with electrodes to record sleep-wake architecture and sleep electroencephalogram under baseline conditions and after 6 hours of sleep deprivation or 1 hour of restraint stress at the beginning of the daily light phase.

Results: Although baseline sleep patterns slightly differed between the sexes, the homeostatic recovery response to sleep deprivation was similar. In contrast, the changes in sleep after restraint stress were markedly different between male and female mice, with males displaying a stronger initial suppression of sleep and a stronger rebound of rapid-eye-movement sleep later in the recovery phase.

Conclusions: In mice, the fundamental homeostatic properties of sleep regulation may not differ between the sexes, but the way sleep is affected and disrupted by environmental influences may be sex dependent. The latter may reflect sex differences in stress sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1231
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • sex differences, gender differences, estrous cycle, sleep, sleep homeostasis, EEG, slow wave sleep, REM sleep, paradoxical sleep, sleep deprivation, sleep disturbance, sleep disruption, sleep complaints, sleep disorder, insomnia, stress, restraint stress, immobilization

ID: 4475143