Heritability of sleep and its disorders in childhood and adolescence

Lewis, Katie J.S. and Gregory, Alice M.. 2021. Heritability of sleep and its disorders in childhood and adolescence. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 7(4), pp. 155-166. ISSN 2198-6401 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Purpose of Review: This review summarizes recent literature on the heritability of sleep and sleep disorders in childhood and adolescence. We also identify gaps in the literature and priorities for future research.

Recent Findings: Findings indicate that age, measurement method, reporter and timing of sleep measurements can influence heritability estimates. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified differences in the heritability of sleep problems when ancestral differences are considered, but sample sizes are small compared to adult GWAS. Most studies focus on sleep variables in the full range rather than on disorder. Studies using objective measures of sleep typically comprised small samples.

Summary: Current evidence demonstrates a wide range of heritability estimates across sleep phenotypes in childhood and adolescence, but research in larger samples, particularly using objective sleep measures and GWAS is needed. Further understanding of environmental mechanisms and the interaction between genes and environment is key for future research.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



Adolescence; Childhood; Circadian Rhythms; Heritability; Sleep

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7 September 2021Accepted
22 November 2021Published Online
December 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2021 14:27

Last Modified:

19 Jan 2022 19:00

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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