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Parent’s Insomnia Up Mental Health Risk for Offspring

insomiaEmerging research suggests a history of chronic insomnia in parents is not only associated with elevated risk for insomnia but also with elevated risks for use of hypnotics, psychopathology and suicidal behavior in adolescent offspring.

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.”

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.

It is recommended that adolescents get nine hours of nightly sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) offers the following tips on how to get a good night’s sleep:

    • Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
    • Establish a relaxing setting at bedtime.
    • Get a full night’s sleep every night.
    • Avoid foods or drinks that contain caffeine, as well as any medicine that has a stimulant, prior to bedtime.
    • Do not stay up all hours of the night to “cram” for an exam, do homework, etc. If after-school activities are proving to be too time-consuming, consider cutting back on these activities.
    • Keep computers and TVs out of the bedroom.
    • Do not go to bed hungry, but don’t eat a big meal before bedtime either.
    • Avoid any rigorous exercise within six hours of your bedtime.
    • Make your bedroom quiet, dark and a little bit cool.
    • Get up at the same time every morning.

Those who suspect that they might be suffering from insomnia, or another sleep disorder, are encouraged to consult with their primary care physician or a sleep specialist.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Parent’s Insomnia Up Mental Health Risk for Offspring

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Parent’s Insomnia Up Mental Health Risk for Offspring. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2008/06/12/parents-insomnia-up-mental-health-risk-for-offspring/2449.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.