Insomnia Isn't Just in Your Head, It May Be in Your DNA Too

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Insomnia Isn't Just in Your Head, It May Be in Your DNA Too

The common advice for someone who can’t sleep ranges from “read a book” to “count sheep”—basically, doing something to to distract yourself, because insomnia is only in your mind. However, that may not be true.

A study published from researchers working in Amsterdam has isolated seven genes as potential “risk factor” genes that may cause insomnia.

In a sample that included 113,006 people, researchers found that “risk” genes also overlap with other conditions including anxiety, restless leg syndrome and depression. Additionally, individuals diagnosed with anxiety and depression tend to exhibit insomnia as a symptom.

Professor Danielle Posthuma noted the study’s research also showed that insomnia genes may appear differently in men and women. ”“Part of the genetic variants turned out to be different. This suggests that, for some part, different biological mechanisms may lead to insomnia in men and women”, she said.

Other studies have shown that women are more likely to report insomnia than men are, and the link between insomnia, genetics and sex provide a layout for future research and hopefully treatment in the years to come.

Photo by sasint, CC-BY

Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.