Turns out your insomnia may be linked to genetics

“It is estimated that there could be six or more different types of insomnia linked to genes.”

It is widely understood that the pervasion of insomnia in America is due to a good many things; from work-related stress to preexisting conditions.

However, two new studies published in the journal Nature Genetics further postulates that some people are actually genetically predisposed to suffer from the common condition.


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Research determined to categorically identify a link between genetics and sleep deprivation actually predate the recent reports indexed below. Some studies have isolated the correlative genetic factors that affect stress levels to better understand the heritability of insomnia.

“Genes are involved with how much sleep you need, and it is estimated that there could be six or more different types of insomnia linked to genes,” explains certified sleep Educator Terry Cralle.

Recent developments imply a rather substantial leap toward less ambiguous calculations.

The heritability of insomnia

The University of Amsterdam helmed the first study published in the journal Nature Genetics, which happened to be the largest genome-wide association study to date. The researchers analyzed the genomes of 1.3 million participants and successfully linked 202 areas of the genome to insomnia. “Our findings highlight key brain areas and cell types implicated in insomnia, and provide new treatment targets,” claims the study.

Hitherto only seven genes have been successfully linked to insomnia compared to this recent study which implicated “956 genes.”

The second study, conducted by a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital identified 76 gene regions that correspond to the amount of time we spend sleeping. Their testing discovered that individuals carrying genes containing the largest number of variants that increased sleep duration slept for about 22 minutes longer than participants with lower amounts.

A previous study based on identical twins with insomnia symptoms conducted back in 2015 by Mckenzie J. Lind of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University School in Richmond, disclosed the heritability of insomnia to be present in around 59% of women and roughly 38% of men.

“The amount of interest and research into the genetics of insomnia has definitely increased in recent years. However, … twin and family studies examining the heritability of insomnia and related phenotypes have been published since the 1960s,” said Lind.

It should be noted that a hereditary insomnia disposition doesn’t come with a drastic change of treatment methods. The methods studied to accommodate healthy circadian rhythms should be effective irrespective of the particular cause of sleepless nights, albeit to different degrees.

Sometimes a simple reconditioning of healthy habits is all you need and sometimes medication should be considered. In either case, get plenty of exercise, limit your caffeine intake and practice mindfulness to fight any and all threats to a good nights rest.


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.