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Can Genetics Play a Part in Insomnia?

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 20 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
Can Genetics Play A Part In Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects thousands of people in the United Kingdom every night. Insomnia is categorised in two ways:

  • Primary Insomnia
  • Secondary Insomnia

Primary Insomnia

Primary Insomnia is a condition that is not caused by another condition and is not the side effect of another condition. Indeed primary insomnia seems to have no real reason for its appearance but can leave the sufferer without any proper sleep for perhaps a period of a month or more.

Secondary Insomnia

Secondary Insomnia is a less severe form of insomnia but still one that affects roughly eight out of every ten people. This particular type of insomnia can be caused by any number of conditions such as any of the following:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Heart Disease

Secondary insomnia will eventually cure itself unlike its more serious counterpart and can often be dealt with by dealing with the underlying cause such as an illness or one of the aforementioned.

What Causes Insomnia?

Insomnia is caused by a lack of a particular chemical in the brain. Normally it is a lack of Melatonin that causes insomnia but this can be rectified with artificial hormones taken orally. Other factors such as stress hormones like cortisol have been linked to the condition but there are ways in which your doctor can help you reduce these and increase Melatonin using prescription medication.

Is Insomnia Genetic?

It is difficult to say conclusively that Insomnia is part of a genetic problem passed down through generations although studies have shown that in roughly a third of all insomnia cases the sufferer has had one parent who has suffered from the condition themselves.

It usually transpires that the sufferer’s mother has been the insomniac. Studies in the United States show that many twins suffer from Insomnia and this may well be a genetic link which has yet to be accurately pinpointed.

Studies also show that other factors such as environment, weight loss or gain, addiction to prescription medications or alcohol and a variety of food stuffs may also have a great deal to do with the problem of Insomnia.

How Can I Cure My Insomnia?

As we touched upon earlier Insomnia is quite common as a side effect to another condition such as a psychological condition like stress or depression. Many individuals who suffer high levels of stress find it difficult to get to sleep or similarly once they are asleep find it difficult to stay asleep.

If you are suffering from stress or depression then these are the things you should look at trying to deal with first. You may find that if you can deal with your issues of stress then your sleep pattern will return to normal.

Likewise as we have mentioned environment factors such as too much light, a room being too warm or too cold, or perhaps eating the wrong foods before bedtime may have a great deal of bearing on the problem. If your Insomnia is such that it has lasted for a period of a week or more then you should be speaking to your doctor who will talk through all the possible causes with you in order to try and establish which is the most likely in your case.

Changes in routine, diet and amounts of alcohol and caffeine you take are all practical and worthwhile ways of trying to solve the problem before it takes an even greater hold. You should also be aware that it is highly unlikely your doctor will prescribe you with any medication to help you sleep initially and may only do so after all other avenues have been explored.

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I find your page very useful, I think that gentics play a part in insonmnia.
najwa - 7-Apr-11 @ 8:17 PM
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