Genetic aspects of normal and disturbed sleep

Sleep Med. 2009 Sep:10 Suppl 1:S17-21. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Aug 5.


Sleep disorders commonly involve genetic susceptibility, environmental effects, and interactions between these factors. The heritability of sleep patterns has been shown in studies of monozygotic twins, and sleep electroencephalogram patterns offer a unique genetic fingerprint which may assist in the identification of genes involved in the regulation of sleep. Genetic factors are also thought to play a role in sleep disorders; narcolepsy is a disabling sleep condition and research has revealed the complexity of underlying genetic and environmental influences in the development of this disorder. An understanding of sleep regulation at the molecular level is essential in the identification of new targets for the treatment of sleep disorders, and genome-wide association studies for both normal sleep and sleep disorders may shed new light on the molecular architecture of mechanisms regulating these behaviours.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cataplexy / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 21 / genetics
  • Diseases in Twins / genetics
  • Electroencephalography
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Narcolepsy / genetics
  • Pedigree
  • Sleep / genetics*
  • Sleep Stages / genetics
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / genetics*
  • Social Environment