Why Are Sleep Disorders So Prevalent In Young Transgender People, And What Can Be Done To Help?
A newly released study reveals young transgender people are much more likely than young cis-gender people to experience a sleep disorder. Why is this happening, and how can healthcare providers better support transgender people?
Transgender Teens Have Higher Rates of Sleep Disorders
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that transgender teens and young adults are 5.4 times more likely to experience insomnia and three times more likely to experience sleep apnea or other disorders. The study analyzed data from more than 1.2 million young people aged 12 to 25, 2,603 of which identified as transgender or gender-nonconforming. This is a massive gap in sleep health between gender identities, and researchers found ways to better support transgender people.
Mental Health is the Main Factor
A large body of research suggests trans people are more likely to experience mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety due to the societal stigma surrounding trans identities, gender dysphoria, or lack of supportive relationships. Research has also established that sleep and mental health have a bidirectional relationship meaning when your mental health declines, it may cause your sleep health to fall, and vice versa. This indicates that a mental health decline in the trans population is the reason for the prevalence of sleep disorders.
Solutions to the Sleep Gap for Transgender Youth
In the study’s conclusion, the authors suggest that better mental health support will increase the sleep health of transgender youth. In fact, the study adds to a growing mass of research that increased access to transition-related care improves the quality of life for trans youth. Research suggests that gender-affirming healthcare and therapy are related to better mental health conditions for transgender people. Changing our healthcare system and lessening the stigma to better support trans people is the best way to help trans people and their mental health. In turn, this will decrease sleep disorders in this community.
Advanced Homecare is open to helping adults, youth, and children with sleep issues. We can set you up with a sleep study to diagnose your concerns or help you get the supplies for treating your sleep apnea. Use the form below to get in touch.