Researchers have found a genetic link between sleep problems and obesity. Coauthor Dr. Martin Rutter explained, “This clinical science is an important step forwards in understanding the biological basis for these conditions, so it’s very exciting. Scientists have long observed a connection between sleep disorders and these conditions in epidemiological studies. But this is the first time these biological links have been identified at a molecular level.”
The researchers analyzed and mapped out genes in over 112,000 individuals in order to determine any links between genes and sleep problems. The researchers identified some genomes that can be linked to many health conditions, including restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, and obesity.
Coauthor Richa Saxena added, “It’s important to remember there is no molecular targeting available for conditions which affect sleep: all we really have are sedatives. So we hope that this research will enable scientists to develop new ways to intervene on a range of conditions in a much more fundamental way.”
Additional research is required for further understanding of biological processes behind sleep and their impact on health.
The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.