Human genetics and sleep behavior

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2017 Jun;44:43-49. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.02.015. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Why we sleep remains one of the greatest mysteries in science. In the past few years, great advances have been made to better understand this phenomenon. Human genetics has contributed significantly to this movement, as many features of sleep have been found to be heritable. Discoveries about these genetic variations that affect human sleep will aid us in understanding the underlying mechanism of sleep. Here we summarize recent discoveries about the genetic variations affecting the timing of sleep, duration of sleep and EEG patterns. To conclude, we also discuss some of the sleep-related neurological disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and the potential challenges and future directions of human genetics in sleep research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics, Medical / trends
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Research / trends
  • Sleep / genetics*
  • Time