Quantitative genetic research on sleep: A review of normal sleep, sleep disturbances and associated emotional, behavioural, and health-related difficulties

Article English OPEN
Barclay, Nicola L. ; Gregory, Alice M. (2013)

Over the past 50 years, well over 100 twin studies have focussed on understanding factors contributing to variability in normal sleep–wake characteristics and sleep disturbances. Whilst we have gained a great deal from these studies, there is still much to be learnt. Twin studies can be used in multiple ways to answer questions beyond simply estimating heritability. This paper provides a comprehensive review of some of the most important findings from twin studies relating to sleep to date, with a focus on studies investigating genetic and environmental influences contributing to i) objective and subjective measures of normal sleep characteristics (e.g., sleep stage organisation, sleep quality); as well as sleep disturbances and disorders such as dyssomnias (e.g., insomnia, narcolepsy) and parasomnias (e.g., sleepwalking, bruxism); ii) the persistence of sleep problems from childhood to adulthood, and the possibility that the aetiological influences on sleep change with age; iii) the associations between sleep disturbances, emotional, behavioural and health-related problems; and iv) processes of gene-environment correlation and interaction. We highlight avenues for further research, emphasising the need to further consider the aetiology of longitudinal associations between sleep disturbances and psychopathology; the genetic and environmental overlap between sleep and numerous phenotypes; and processes of gene-environment interplay and epigenetics.
  • References (14)
    14 references, page 1 of 2

    1. Gregory AM, Franken P. Genetic approaches to the problem of sleep. In: Francos M, (eds). Current advances in sleep biology: Mechanisms and function. New York: Nova Biomedical Books; 2009. p. 41-62.

    2. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th ed. Washington, DC: APA; 1994.

    3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. International classification of sleep disorders, 2nd ed.: Diagnostic and coding manual. Westchester, Illinois: American Academy of Sleep Medicine; 2005.

    4. Plomin R, DeFries JC, McClearn GE, McGuffin P. Behavioral genetics. 5th Edition ed. New York: Worth Publishers; 2008.

    5. Rutter M, Silberg J. Gene-environment interplay in relation to emotional and behavioral disturbance. Annu Rev Psychol 2002;53:463-90.

    6. Barclay NL, Eley TC, Rijsdijk FV, Gregory AM. Dependent negative life events and sleep quality: An examination of gene-environment interplay. Sleep Med 2011;12:403-9.

    7. De Gennaro L, Ferrara M, Vecchio F, Curcio G, Bertini M. An electroencephalographic fingerprint of human sleep. NeuroImage 2005;26:114-22.

    8. Zung WW, Wilson WP. Sleep and dream patterns in twins. Markov analysis of a genetic trait. Recent Adv Biol Psychiatry 1966;9:119-30.

    9. Linkowski P, Kerkhofs M, Hauspie R, Mendlewicz J. Genetic determinants of EEG sleep - a study in twins living apart. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1991;79:114-8. *10. Linkowski P, Kerkhofs M, Hauspie R, Susanne C, Mendlewicz J. EEG sleep patterns in man - a twin study. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1989;73:279-84.

    11. Hori A. Sleep characteristics in twins. Jpn J Psychiatr Neur 1986;40:35-46.

  • Metrics
    No metrics available
Share - Bookmark