can sleepwalking be dangerous
Home » Blog » Are sleep disorders genetic?

Are sleep disorders genetic?


Humans are the only animals that regularly engage in the activity of sleeping. However, the quality of sleep that individual experiences will vary.

The discrepancy may be attributable to factors such as the living environment, travel itinerary, or job habits… and most importantly genetic inheritance.

Your genes can influence many aspects of your life, including the amount of sleep you require, the quality of sleep you get, and even the possibility that you will sleepwalk.

In the article below, we will help you find out the relationship between genetics and sleep, from which to have a better overview of this issue.

Is Sleep Disorders Genetic? 

There is some evidence that indicates that some sleeping disorders may be inherited. In point of fact, there are several well-documented research on twins and families that look at specific sleep disorders and suggest that heredity may play a role.

At the moment, only a few types of sleep disorders have been shown to have a clear hereditary foundation.

This includes narcolepsy with cataplexy, deadly familial insomnia, familial advanced sleep-phase syndrome, and persistent genetic insomnia.

Insomnia is fairly prevalent, and it is possible for it to run in families. Additionally, not getting enough sleep might actually disrupt the natural functioning of your genes, which can further compound the situation.

It’s not always genetic to have trouble sleeping, so before you point the finger at your family, see if a trained professional can help you figure out what’s causing your insomnia.

Is There A Severe Risk Of Insomnia?

It is possible that the consequences could be severe. The most frequent type of sleep problem, insomnia can have major repercussions for the patient and affects between 6 and 10 percent of adult patients.

It is not uncommon for the problem to be left untreated, which can lead to serious repercussions.

There is a correlation between insomnia and a variety of health disorders, including high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and others. Because these illnesses are chronic, which indicates that they cannot be cured, the situation is quite dire.

Insomnia that lasts for an extended period of time can produce a number of important symptoms, including difficulties with memory, mood, and attention.

These symptoms can have an impact on day-to-day living and make it challenging to function normally.

However, with the support of a trained specialist, it is possible to treat insomnia as well as a wide variety of other sleeping difficulties, including those that are inherited.

Syndromes Of Genetic Sleep Disorders

There are a number of different genetic causes of sleep disorders. Some of the more common ones include:


Genes in brain regions and adrenal glands appear to be involved in human insomnia. Insomnia is considered one of the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorders today.

The researchers found that insomnia may be linked to 135 genes in multiple parts of the brain. In it, including the amygdala (amygdala), …

Stress is also a factor in insomnia. Because it affects the way genes in the bodywork. This process is called epigenetic inheritance and can be passed from parent to child.

However, epigenetics is reversible if behavioral or environmental changes are encountered. 

Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can be hereditary, primarily because the tongue retracts into the back of the throat during sleep, interfering with breathing.

Sleep apnea originates from dysfunction in breathing signaling in the brain, possibly related to abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system.

However, most cases of central sleep apnea are not inherited but are caused by other conditions such as kidney or heart failure, severe obesity, or stimulant use.

Restless Legs Syndrome

This often occurs at night when the patient is getting ready for bed, causing discomfort or pain in the extremities.

In fact, this disorder can prevent, delay, or disrupt sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and other common symptoms of sleep deprivation. 


This is a condition where someone falls asleep unexpectedly during the day. It can be caused by a number of different things, including genetics.   

Circadian Rhythm Disorders

This is a condition where someone’s sleep patterns are out of sync with their natural body clock. It can be caused by a number of different things, including genetics

There are a few different types of circadian rhythm disorders, the most common being delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD). This is when someone’s natural sleep cycle is delayed by two or more hours.

So, if you normally go to bed at 10 pm, you may not be able to fall asleep until midnight or later. This can be a big problem if you have to wake up early for work or school.

DSPD is often treated with light therapy, which involves exposure to bright light at certain times of the day. This can help to reset your body clock so that you can fall asleep and wake up at more normal times.

Kleine-Levin Syndrome

Kleine-Levin syndrome is a rare form of inherited insomnia. This condition usually occurs in adolescent males.

However, many cases of this syndrome are adults and girls. In particular, people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent will have a higher rate of this syndrome than other people.

Symptoms of Kleine-Levin syndrome will include periods of extreme sleepiness, unusual overeating, mood and personality changes, irritability, and uncontrolled sexual behavior. (Source: Sleep Foundation)

The above symptoms can be formed due to dysfunction of the thalamus of the brain and hypothalamus. This is where the controls for these behaviors originate.

Kleine-Levin syndrome usually decreases in frequency over the course of a decade and may clear up completely by the time you reach adulthood. This syndrome can also be triggered by certain environmental conditions and interactions between susceptibility genes.


Recent studies of twins reveal that paralysis also has a genetic link. Symptoms of sleep paralysis include the body’s inability to move during the first few seconds or minutes of waking.

These manifestations are worrisome or frightening, more specifically they can occur with relative frequency.

Sleep disorders usually occur in REM and N3 sleep – this is the third and deepest stage of sleep. Sleep paralysis is even more common in people with dysfunction of the sleep and wake systems or with narcolepsy.


Sleepwalking tends to occur during N3 sleep. This includes getting up in bed, getting dressed to sleep, or doing some other activity.

According to research, children whose parents are sleepwalkers are three times more likely to sleepwalk than the general population.

If both parents have a history of sleepwalking, this child is seven times more likely to sleepwalk. 61% of children whose parents sleepwalked had symptoms of sleepwalking.

Teeth Grinding While Sleeping

Twin studies and DNA tests suggest that teeth grinding during sleep is genetically linked. Which, half of those diagnosed with bruxism while sleeping, will have 1 family member with the same condition.

These sleep disorders are more common in children and adults under the age of 30. These include symptoms such as jaw pain, nighttime grinding of teeth, or tooth damage. Most teeth grinding symptoms will occur during the changing depth of sleep, starting from one sleep stage to another.

How To Treat Sleep Problems Caused By Genetics

If you are someone who struggles with sleep problems due to genetics, there are a few things you can do to help prevent these issues. Here are five tips:

Get Enough Sleep

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to get enough sleep each night. Your body needs time to rest and repair itself, so make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

This will help you to be more alert and productive during the day.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 8 hours, so if you’re trying to sleep, it’s best to avoid it altogether. If you do need to drink caffeine, do so earlier in the day so it has time to wear off before bedtime.

There are a few things you can do to help you sleep better at night if you find yourself struggling. One is to avoid caffeine altogether.

Exercise Regularly

Your body will get more exhausted as a result of exercise, and you will experience a release of endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel more relaxed.

Be sure to get some exercise during the day, but try to avoid doing it too close to bedtime because this can have the reverse impact. The benefits of maintaining a regular exercise routine are numerous.

In addition to promoting better sleep, exercise has a host of other benefits. Regular exercise can help to:

  • reduce stress
  • Improve mood
  • boost energy levels
  • promote weight loss
  • strengthen bones and muscles
  • improve heart health

So, if you’re looking to improve your sleep and your overall health, make exercise a part of your daily routine.

Stick To A Sleep Schedule

Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. This is especially important on weekends when it’s tempting to sleep in.

If you can, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. This is especially important on weekends when it’s tempting to sleep in.

Creating and following a sleep schedule can be a helpful way to ensure you’re getting enough rest. It can also be beneficial for your overall health.

Create A Relaxing Bedtime Routine

This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or stretching. Doing something calming before bed can help your mind and body relax, making it easier to fall asleep

If you have trouble falling asleep, a bedtime routine can help. Establishing a regular routine can cue your body that it’s time to wind down for the night. .

Genetic Testing for Insomnia

Research studies are the most common setting for doing genetic testing of sleep characteristics at the moment. In a clinical setting, genetic testing for insomnia is not typically performed by medical professionals, including doctors and sleep specialists.

They instead classify their patients with insomnia using a precise set of criteria that are specified in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders.

People who are interested in pursuing sleep-related genetic testing can either take part in a research study or pursue it through consumer companies that offer DNA testing. Both options are available.

If you have insomnia, you may be considering genetic testing to see if you have a genetic predisposition for the condition.

There are a few different types of genetic tests that can be used to test for insomnia, and your doctor can help you decide which one is right for you.

The most common type of genetic test for insomnia is a polysomnogram. This test measures your brain waves, heart rate, and breathing during sleep. It can help your doctor determine if you have sleep mental disorders such as insomnia

Another type of genetic test for insomnia is a sleep study. This test is usually done in a sleep lab, and it measures how well you sleep. It can also help your doctor determine if you have insomnia disorders.

If you have insomnia, you may also be interested in taking sleep medication. There are many different types of sleep medications, and your doctor can help you choose the one that is right for you.


You have the power to improve the quality of your sleep regardless of whether or not you have a hereditary tendency to insomnia because you have the ability to take action and improve the quality of your sleep.

If your insomnia does not improve with time or if your sleep issues are having a detrimental influence on your quality of life, talk to your primary care practitioner.

Your doctor is in the best position to identify any underlying issues and provide recommendations regarding appropriate treatments.

Detox your body and improve your health by sleeping better

Every Thursday morning, you’ll receive 1 actionable tip on how you can get a tight sleep to refresh your body and mind.