Things you never knew about insomnia

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You can’t sleep, and you want someone other than yourself to blame. You’re in luck, it turns out you can blame someone along your ancestry, yay!

What is insomnia

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder sometimes known as sleeplessness. People who suffer from this condition find it difficult to fall asleep, or sustain an extended period of sleep that will allow them to relax and recover. Some of the conditions of insomnia are; lying awake at night, waking up early and struggling to get back to sleep, and feeling tired and irritable during the day. While the numbers are not set in stone, adults require between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to properly recharge their batteries for the next day. Insomnia can be caused by stress, narcotic use, drinking, shift work, or being in a room that is too hot or cold. A pharmacist may prescribe sleeping aids to people who suffer from the condition, but the problem with taking them is that it leaves people unable to drive or operate heavy machinery the day after. People avoid taking their medication in order to continue working.

There is a genetic link

Studies undertaken on mice found that certain sleeping traits are genetically passed from one mouse to another. Following that research, some twins were tested, and they shared similar traits to the mice in terms of sleeping patterns. Now new research has been done that further solidifies this theory. It shows that not only are there links genetically between insomnia but also other mental and physical disorders such as type 2 diabetes and depression.

How to prove it

Lots of military veterans are diagnosed with insomnia, so researchers across the country undertook a genome-wide research project involving 33,000 new recruits and 8,000 veterans. They analyzed the blood and questionnaire responses of all involved to determine how possible it is to inherit certain mental characteristics from your relatives. The results did show that insomnia, in particular, was highly likely to be inherited from your relatives, although the study did also show that there is a real correlation between depression and insomnia. Insomnia and depression are two different conditions, so while they are often linked, it doesn’t explain why they should be passed on genetically. Equally, there is a correlation between type 2 diabetes and insomnia.

The limitations

The study only took into consideration members of the U.S. military so it can be criticized for not being the most diverse research ever done. Furthermore, the majority of the sampling pool was male, so it is not the most gender neutral study undertaken. Some of the military members were from Latino, European, and African ancestries, although there were not enough Asian-Americans represented to consider this a data group. Another limitation of the research is that the answers supplied were self-reported, so they may not necessarily be the most accurate responses.

This study has at least given an indication that treatments can be developed for sleep problems such as insomnia. In developing a greater understanding of the problem scientists and researchers can set their minds to finding a solution to the problem.

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