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VOLUME 36, ISSUE 11

GENETIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO SLEEP-WAKE BEHAVIOR IN 12-YEAR-OLD TWINS
Genetic and Environmental Contributions to Sleep-Wake Behavior in 12-Year-Old Twins

http://dx.doi.org/10.5665/sleep.3136

Tracey L. Sletten, PhD1; Shantha M.W. Rajaratnam, PhD1; Margaret J. Wright, PhD3; Gu Zhu, PhD3; Sharon Naismith, BA Hons; M Clin Npsych, DPsych2; Nicholas G. Martin, PhD3; Ian Hickie, MD, FRANZCP2

1School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; 2Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 3Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Queensland, Australia.



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Study Objectives:

To examine the role of genetic and environmental factors on sleep behavior in 12-year-old twins matched for family environment.

Design:

Population-based twin cohort.

Setting:

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).

Interventions:

N/A.

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).

Conclusions:

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.

Citation:

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.

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