Children's objective sleep assessed with wrist-based accelerometers: Strong heritability of objective quantity and quality unique from parent-reported sleep

Reagan S. Breitenstein, Leah D. Doane, Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children's poor sleep is a risk factor for lower cognitive functioning and internalizing and externalizing problems. It is unclear whether genetic and environmental influences vary based on sleep assessment and no studies to date have examined genetic and environmental contributions to links between multiple objective and subjective sleep indicators. Further, nearly all heritability studies rely on subjective parent- or self-report measures of sleep duration and problems. Given these gaps in the literature, we (1) modeled genetic and environmental influences on multiple objective and subjective sleep indicators and (2) estimated genetic and environmental covariances between objective and subjective sleep indicators in middle childhood. Participants were 608 twin children (MZ = 178, same-sex DZ = 234, opposite-sex DZ = 190) assessed at 8 years of age (SD = 0.63 years). Objective nighttime sleep duration, efficiency, sleep onset latency (SOL), midpoint time, and midpoint variability were collected from actigraph watches worn for 7 nights (Mnights = 6.83, SD = 0.62). Children's nighttime sleep duration and daytime sleepiness were assessed via parent report. Findings suggested high additive genetic influence on objective sleep quantity and quality, whereas objective SOL, sleep midpoint time, midpoint variability, parent-reported sleep duration, and daytime sleepiness were largely influenced by the shared environment. Common genetic factors explained associations between objective sleep quantity and quality, but genetics did not account for links with parent-reported sleep duration, midpoint time, or midpoint variability. Thus, objective and parent-reported assessments of children's sleep have unique genetic etiologies and should not be used interchangeably in the sleep literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzsaa142
JournalSleep
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • actigraphy
  • children
  • genetics
  • middle childhood
  • parent report
  • sleep
  • twins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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