To examine the role of genetic and environmental factors on sleep behavior in 12-year-old twins matched for family environment.
Population-based twin cohort.
Participants were assessed in their home environment.
Patients or Participants:
One hundred thirty-two adolescent twins comprising 25 monozygotic (MZ) and 41 dizygotic (DZ) twin pairs; aged 12.2 ± 0.1 y (mean ± standard deviation).
Measurements and Results:
For 2 weeks in their home environment, participants wore a wrist activity monitor and completed a daily sleep diary. Sleep diaries included reports of bedtime, wake time, and estimated sleep onset time. Mean timing, duration, and quality of sleep during the 2 weeks were calculated for each individual and compared within twin pairs. MZ twin correlations were higher than the DZ correlations for total sleep time (MZr = 0.64; DZr = 0.38) and sleep onset latency (MZr = 0.83; DZr = 0.53) and significantly higher for wake after sleep onset (MZr = 0.66; DZr = 0.04) and sleep efficiency (MZr = 0.82; DZr = 0.10). Univariate modeling showed additive genetic factors accounted for 65% of the variance in total sleep time, 83% in sleep onset latency, and 52% and 57% of the variance in wake after sleep onset and sleep efficiency, respectively. A predominant influence of shared environment was found on the timing of sleep (67% for sleep start time, 86% for sleep end time).
There is a strong genetic influence on the sleep-wake patterns of 12-year-old adolescents. Genes have a greater influence on sleep initiation and sleep maintenance and a smaller role in sleep timing, likely to be influenced by family environment.
Sletten TL; Rajaratnam SMW; Wright MJ; Zhu G; Naismith S; Martin NG; Hickie I. Genetic and environmental contributions to sleep-wake behavior in 12-year-old twins. SLEEP 2013;36(11):1715-1722.