The electroencephalographic fingerprint of sleep is genetically determined: a twin study

Ann Neurol. 2008 Oct;64(4):455-60. doi: 10.1002/ana.21434.


Humans have an individual profile of the electroencephalographic power spectra at the 8 to 16 Hz frequency during non-rapid eye movement sleep that is stable over time and resistant to experimental perturbations. We tested the hypothesis that this electroencephalographic "fingerprint" is genetically determined, by recording 40 monozygotic and dizygotic twins during baseline and recovery sleep after prolonged wakefulness. We show a largely greater similarity within monozygotic than dizygotic pairs, resulting in a heritability estimate of 96%, not influenced by sleep need and intensity. If replicated, these results will establish the electroencephalographic profile during sleep as one of the most heritable traits of humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / genetics*
  • Twins, Dizygotic / physiology
  • Twins, Monozygotic / physiology
  • Wakefulness / genetics
  • Young Adult