Study objectives: To better understand the relationships of insomnia, sleepiness, and obesity.
Design: Classic twin study.
Setting: A community-based twin registry in Washington State.
Patients or participants: One thousand forty-two monozygotic and 828 dizygotic twin pairs participating in the University of Washington Twin Registry.
Measurements and results: Twins were, on average, 32 years old; 61% were women, and 19.5% were obese, defined as a body mass index > or = 28. Insomnia and sleepiness were endorsed by 19.3% and 3.7% of twins, respectively. Twin correlations were higher in monozygotic than dizygotic twins for insomnia (0.47 versus 0.15), sleepiness (0.37 versus 0.14), and obesity (0.82 versus 0.46). Heritability estimates were 57% for insomnia (p < .001; 95% confidence interval 47-63), 38% for sleepiness (p < .01; 95% confidence interval 16-46), and 73% for obesity (p < .001; 95% confidence interval 49-87). Multivariate genetic model fitting revealed that common additive genetic effects comprised 12.8% of the phenotypic correlation between insomnia and sleepiness (p < .01) and 10% of the phenotypic correlation between insomnia and obesity (p < .01). The phenotypic correlation between sleepiness and obesity was not due to common additive genetic effects.
Conclusions: Insomnia, sleepiness, and obesity are under strong genetic influence. Common genetic effects were observed between insomnia and both sleepiness and obesity, suggesting shared genetic contributions to these phenomena.