Consultants from Oxford College, the Netherlands, and the US in new research found that the “restless sleep” and insomnia or disturbed sleeping patterns in adolescents and some adults is caused due to their DNA structure. Scientists studied at least 400 units of grownup twins to see if developments have been genetic, and discovered that 46 per cent of the variability in how long we sleep is related to our DNA composition. The findings were published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews on January 30.
“Sleep characteristics are under strong genetic control,” the scientists stated after studying 36 research samples. Earlier epidemiological and interventional research linked disturbed or limited sleep with poor physical and mental health. However, in the new study, scientists asserted that the evidence from (behavioural) genetic research showed the heritability of sleep duration. Researchers screened as many as 5,644 abstracts and 160 complete references for population reporting heritability statistics on sleep duration. They found that the 45,328 twins between 6 months to 88 years showed variability in sleep length due to the genetic material, the remaining was attributed to the unique environment that cut short the sleep duration.
Adults reporting ‘sleep apnea’
“Our findings highlight the importance of considering genetic influences when aiming to understand the underlying mechanisms contributing to the trajectories of sleep patterns across the lifespan,” the scientists said in the study. A high prevalence of restless sleep was found in children or people in the tedious work environment such as caregivers. Sleep duration and quality for the population at large has also been impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic. An Artificial intelligence-powered diagnostics company EnsoData, released its second report on COVID-19’s impact on national sleep centers which revealed that an increasing number of adults were reporting sleep apnea.
“Sleep apnea is a condition that plagues nearly one billion people worldwide, costs the US nearly $150 billion annually, and is associated with increased risk for high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, stroke, depression, and complications with medications, surgeries, and pregnancies. We simply can’t afford to fall behind in treating patients,” Chris Fernandez, CEO of EnsoData, explained in a release. People were adopting new strategies and technologies to treat the disturbed sleep during the prolonged pandemic, the firm alleged.