Washington, June 13 : A new study has found that adolescent kids of parents who suffer from chronic insomnia are not just at a greater risk of insomnia themselves, but are also prone to suicidal behaviour and use of hypnotics and psychopathology.
The study, authored by Xianchen Liu, MD, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, focused on 798 teenagers (450 boys and 348 girls), with an average age of 14.4 years, who completed a sleep and health questionnaire.
According to the results, compared with adolescents of parents without insomnia, participants of insomnia parents were more than twice more likely to report insomnia, daytime fatigue, and use of hypnotics.
Adolescents of insomnia parents were also more likely to have depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts during the past year.
"These results suggest that a history of chronic insomnia in parents is not only associated with elevated risk for insomnia, but also with elevated risks for a wide range of mental health problems, substance use, and suicidal behavior in adolescent offspring," said Dr. Liu.
"Family sleep interventions may be important to enhance sleep quality and decrease risks for sleep disturbance, psychopathology and suicidal behavior in adolescents.
"Further studies are warranted to examine how and the extent to which genetic and environmental factors interact in determining sleep disturbances and psychopathology among adolescents," Dr. Liu added.
Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. It is the most commonly reported sleep disorder.
The study was presented at SLEEP 2008, the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).