News Release

Are some children genetically predisposed to poor sleep?

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Previous research has identified genetic variants associated with insomnia and sleep duration in adults. Now a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry has found that these variants also likely affect sleep quality and quantity in children.

In the study of 2,458 children of European ancestry, children who were genetically predisposed to insomnia (based on a polygenic risk score developed for adults) had more insomnia-like sleep problems such as frequent awakenings or difficulty initiating sleep, as reported by their mothers, whereas those who were genetically predisposed to longer sleep had longer sleep duration but were also more awake during the night in adolescence.

The authors noted that by showing that genes predisposing adults to insomnia also play a role in poor sleep from toddlerhood to adolescence, they provide indirect evidence for a ‘poor sleeper’ trait across the lifetime. “Our study shows that genetic susceptibility for poor sleep translates from adults to children. This finding emphasizes the importance of early recognition and prevention,” said corresponding author Desana Kocevska, PhD, of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and the Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam.

URL upon publication:


Additional Information
The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact: Sara Henning-Stout,

About the Journal
The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (JCPP) is widely recognised to be the leading international journal covering both child and adolescent psychology and psychiatry. JCPP publishes the highest quality clinically relevant research in psychology, psychiatry and related disciplines.

About Wiley
Wiley is a knowledge company and a global leader in research, publishing, and knowledge solutions. Dedicated to the creation and application of knowledge, Wiley serves the world’s researchers, learners, innovators, and leaders, helping them achieve their goals and solve the world's most important challenges. For more than two centuries, Wiley has been delivering on its timeless mission to unlock human potential. Visit us at Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.