WESTCHESTER, Ill. Individuals with either current or past insomnia are more likely to report a family history of insomnia than are those who have never had the sleep disorder, according to a study published in the December 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study, authored by Simon Beaulieu-Bonneau, MPs, of the cole de psychologie at Universit Laval in Qubec, Canada, focused on 953 adults between 18 and 83 years of age, who completed several questionnaires, including a survey of current and past history of insomnia/sleep disorders for self and first-degree relatives. Fifty-two percent of the subjects were classified as good sleepers, 32.5 percent as individuals with insomnia symptoms, and 15.5 percent as having met criteria for an insomnia syndrome.
According to the results, 39.7 percent of the subjects reported at least one first-degree relative (i.e., parent or sibling) with a current or past sleep problem. Insomnia (34.9 percent) was by far the most frequent sleep problem reported in first-degree relatives, followed by sleep apnea (4.6 percent), restless legs syndrome (2.6 percent) and excessive daytime sleepiness (2.4 percent). The subjects mother (19.7 percent) was the most frequently afflicted first-degree relative with insomnia, followed by sister (11.1 percent), father (7.5 percent), and brother (5.9 percent). For 2.2 percent of the sample, both parents had current or past insomnia.
Individuals with current or past insomnia were significantly more likely to report a family history of insomnia than were good sleepers who had never experienced insomnia in the past (39.1 percent vs. 29 percent). Subjects with a family history of insomnia endorsed higher scores on measures of insomnia severity, anxiety symptomatology and arousal predisposition.
The findings add to the limited evidence previously obtained from studies using selected clinical samples of individuals with insomnia, said Beaulieu-Bonneau. The overall 35
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American Academy of Sleep Medicine