The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), which promotes interdisciplinary research into the biological differences between women and men, has launched an initiative focused on studying sex and gender differences in sleep and the state of women’s sleep health. The SWHR Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep will work collaboratively to identify areas of key unmet needs in women’s sleep health and conduct pilot studies to address those needs.

The Network will meet three times a year for 5 years. Members represent the following multidisciplines: epidemiology; sleep physiology; neurology; psychiatry; basic science; neurophysiology; pulmonology; pain; nursing; and cellular and molecular biology. For a list of invited Network members, visit

“The Society for Women’s Health Research is proud to bring together this interdisciplinary group to look at the critical issue of sleep in women’s health. We need greater focus on sex differences in sleep research to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sleep disorders for both women and men,” says Dr Christine Carter, SWHR vice president of scientific affairs. “There continues to be knowledge gaps in the medical community regarding women and sleep. This new SWHR Network will help address those gaps and highlight the importance of healthy sleep for everyone.”

Dr Monica Mallampalli, SWHR director of scientific programs, says, “Much of the medical literature today is devoted to sleep issues that face men. There needs to be more momentum toward studying these issues in women too. Women do sleep differently than men, though we still don’t know all the reasons why. We hope that by bringing together leading experts in the sleep field, we can transform our understanding of the sex differences in sleep and improve overall women’s sleep health.”

The Network was created as a result of a roundtable meeting held by SWHR in October 2013. The highlights of that roundtable and the expert research recommendations were compiled in a report by SWHR that has been submitted to the Journal of Women’s Health.

Both the roundtable and Network have been made possible with funding from Jazz Pharmaceuticals.