A higher risk of insomnia has been associated with certain mutations in the CLOCK gene. Similarly, changes in genes associated with upper airway shape and function may raise the risk of developing sleep apnea.
According to a new study, children who were genetically susceptible to insomnia, as determined by a polygenic risk score created for adults, experienced more insomnia-like sleep issues, such as difficulties falling asleep or waking up frequently (1✔ ✔Trusted Source
Are some children genetically predisposed to poor sleep? A polygenic risk study in the general population
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Genetics not only affects sleep patterns but also has a role in the development of sleep problems in children. There is evidence linking certain conditions, including sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia, to genetics.
Research has shown two gene variations linked to narcolepsy (one in the T-cell receptor α locus and another between CPT1B and CHKB) and four gene variants linked to restless legs syndrome (BTBD9, MEIS1, MAP2K5/LBXCOR1, and PTPRD) (3✔ ✔Trusted Source
Genome-wide association studies of sleep disorders
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Why is Sleep Important?
Your body needs sleep to sustain both your physical and mental well-being. Sleep deprivation over a long period of time, can increase the chance of developing chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular problems, metabolic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
The immune system is also impacted by sleep loss. It reduces the generation of defense cytokines, which are necessary for generating antibodies that fight infections.
The genes that predispose adults to insomnia also contribute to poor sleep during childhood and adolescence; hence, they indirectly support the existence of a lifetime “poor sleeper” feature.
Environmental Factors and Genetic Predisposition
Although a child’s sleep patterns might be influenced by genetics, environmental circumstances also have a big impact. Regardless of a child’s genetic tendency, a variety of factors, including parenting styles, sleep habits, exposure to electronic gadgets, and bedroom atmosphere, can affect how well they sleep.
Treating children’s sleep issues requires an understanding of how heredity and environment interact. Even if a child is genetically predisposed to have trouble sleeping, parents may help maximize their child’s sleep by setting up a sleep-friendly atmosphere and encouraging healthy sleep practices.
Genetic susceptibility highlights how crucial it is to identify and treat sleep disorders in children at an early age. Early treatment of sleep disorders can support a child’s growth and academic achievement.
- Are some children genetically predisposed to poor sleep? A polygenic risk study in the general population – (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37936537/)
- The genetics of sleep disorders – (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(02)00103-5/fulltext)
- Genome-wide association studies of sleep disorders – (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21285061/)