Scientists Say A Genetic Mutation May Cause Insomnia

You can add insomnia to the list of things you blame mum and dad for.

In a new study published in Molecular Psychiatry , researchers confirmed insomnia is hereditary, and discovered the genetic mutation that’s likely responsible for those restless nights.

The research team, led by Murray Stein, M.D., of the University of California San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System, analyzed DNA samples from more than 33,000 soldiers participating in the Army Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS) for the study.

Participants filled out a brief insomnia questionnaire based on the DSM-5 criteria for chronic insomnia to determine whether they had insomnia disorder.

Overall, the study found that insomnia has a partially heritable basis and is associated with a genetic mutation on chromosome seven.

The researchers also found a genetic correlation between insomnia disorder and other psychiatric and physical disorders: In particular, the study identified a strong genetic link between insomnia and type 2 diabetes and an additional tie between sleeplessness and major depression in participants of European descent.


If you’ve had a few too many sleepless nights, you’ve probably frantically Googled insomnia (while trying to pass the time) to find out why you are having trouble getting shut-eye.

If the following criteria apply to you, it might be a sign you’re suffering from this sleep disorder, according to the Academy of Sleep Medicine:

  • You have a hard time falling asleep
  • You struggle to maintain sleep, and wake up frequently during the night
  • You wake up too early can’t go back to sleep
  • Your sleep quality is poor and doesn’t live you feeling restored

Everyone has the occasional night where it seems like they haven’t slept a wink and many people will experience short-term (acute) insomnia which lasts a few days or weeks and is often caused by stress or a traumatic event. But other people suffer from long-term (chronic) insomnia that can last for a month or longer, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you have ongoing symptoms such as sleeplessness, daytime tiredness, difficulty paying attention or focusing, persistent worries about sleep, and irritability, depression, or anxiety that negatively impact your life, Mayo Clinic recommends seeing a doctor.

The good news is that researchers say these findings may help them develop targeted therapies to treat insomnia in the future.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US

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