Finnish study says insomnia may be hereditary

16:36, July 05, 2011      

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A new Finnish research shows that sleeplessness may be hereditary, and insomniacs are more likely to die earlier than people with healthy sleep patterns.

The research is the first to link insomnia with mortality risk, Finnish media reported on Monday.

The research is conducted by the Institute of Occupational Health in collaboration with the University of Helsinki and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare

In a large-scale twin study, the Finnish researchers followed the health status of 12,500 adult twin pairs during the years from 1990 to 2009. Twenty percent of the participants were suffering from sleeplessness symptoms, including difficulty in initiating sleep, nocturnal awakening and non-restorative sleep.

The study found out that compared with unidentical twins, identical twins were more likely to suffer from similar insomnia symptoms. This finding indicates that genetic factors play a role in the formation of insomnia.

Moreover, the participants were divided into three groups, according to their sleep qualities. Out of the participants, 48 percent were good sleepers, 40 percent average sleepers and 12 percent poor sleepers. The search result shows that insomnia-related symptoms may increase mortality risk.

In addition, compared with good sleepers, 7 percent of the women and 22 percent of the men who were average sleepers were more likely to die earlier; and poor sleepers were 1.5 times more likely to die earlier.

According to the researchers, sleeplessness is a common health problem among working-age cohort. Chronic sleeplessness raises the risk of many illnesses and accidents, and thus weakens people's quality of life and ability to operate properly.

The experts suggest that insomniacs should seek medical treatment in time, and chronic insomnia patients should be better treated with non-drug therapy.

Source: Xinhua
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