It is hard to find someone on earth who does not know what insomnia is all about. Insomnia can be a serious problem for some people, and there are lots of reasons and causes of it. For decades scientists have been studying the influence of such factor as heredity on insomnia or other sleep disorders, and a great deal of the specialists have been trying to find out the connection between parental insomnia and sleep patterns of the children. A year ago, Dr. Xianchen Liu, an expert at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School presented to the audience of the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies the results of his most recent study.
The specialist found out scientific evidence of the fact that the children and especially adolescent children of the parents, who regularly suffer from insomnia, have increased risks of developing insomnia and other sleep disturbances, as well as a number of mental and behavioral problems. During the research, the scientists worked with about 900 children over 14, who were both insomniacs and normal sleepers. After studying sleep habits of the children, whose parents have sleep problems, the scientists found out that such children have 3 times higher risks of having insomnia, 5 times higher risks of using hypnotic drugs and 2 times higher chances of having regular fatigue in comparison with the children whose parents sleep good every night.
Moreover, the specialists published quite alarming statistics showing that 17% of children affected by parental insomnia have regular depression and suicidal thoughts, and 9.5% of such children reported about having clear suicide plans and even suicide attempts. Donna Arand, clinical director of Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Ohio and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine commented on the results of this study as the following: “We have known just in the last year or so that having insomnia makes that individual at high risk for major depression later in life, but this is, to my knowledge, the first time we’ve looked at offspring and realized we have a significant problem.”
There are many cases when familys have generations of insomniacs, and parental insomnia can be really dangerous for children. Statistics shows that in our times, about 30% of adult people have to fight with occasional insomnia, and 10% of modern adult people have to face chronic insomnia. That is why heredity plays more and more important role as a factor which affects normal sleep patterns of adolescent children. Other studies (in particular, a recent research of Brazilian specialists at Sao Paulo University) proved the hypotheis about a stong connection between insomnia and suicidal behavior. In order to avoid possible mental disorders and behavioral problems, it is very important for today’s adolescents to pay proper attention on their sleep habits and sleep not less than 9 hours. Teenagers between 11 and 14 should sleep not less than 10 hours every night.