Can DNA Testing Help Us Sleep Better?

Many people really struggle with their sleep and may over the years have tried a number of different approaches. But now it is apparent that our genes may offer up some answers and solutions and can be carried out easily with a home DNA test kit.

Home DNA tests have been around for a while now and we are all used to the ones dealing with paternity issues for example as well as those who help us understand our ancestry. But home DNA tests are now helping people to better understand the link between genes and fitness as well as genes and diets. And now we are aware that there is a link between our genes and various sleep issues.

Links Between Sleep Issues & Genes

Genetic research is now clear that there is a link between genes and excessive sleepiness, narcolepsy. The link is to a gene,HLA-DQB106.02 to be precise. In addition to this there is now a known link to’ restless leg syndrome’, the BTBD9 gene has been commonly found in people who suffer with this disorder. Variations in the ADA gene have also been cited as the gene that affects peoples ability to achieve a state of deep sleep.

Scientists in San Diego have now also linked certain genes with the issue of insomnia and depression. Coping with stress can also be a vital factor in how well we sleep so many tests look at our predisposition towards coping with stress and what times of that day we achieve our optimal productivity. In addition tests can look at how we react to caffeine which could be further inhibiting our sleep.

Sleep Reports

This varies according to the test provider used but many will provide you with a detailed analysis of your sleep profile which can include your sleep apnea risk, your ability to achieve deep sleep, movement, quality and stress tolerance.

What Can You Actually Do With The Information?

Knowing that you have a genetic sleep issue could help your doctor diagnose and treat the problem much more quickly so saving you time., As well as this, understanding how you react to stress could help you put together a stress management plan which will in turn help improve your sleep patterns.

What’s Involved In The Home DNA Test?

For a test for stress and sleep information most providers will ask for a cheek swab, which involves you using a cotton bud type implement on the inside of your cheek or a cheek scraper which looks and feels like a soft toothbrush. You may also be asked for a sample of saliva. If it is the latter then you may also be given a solution to add to the saliva which ensures it doesn’t degrade before it gets to the testing labs. As you would imagine these homes testing kits are very easy to use. 

Certainly this way of testing is much easier and less intrusive than asking for blood. The key thing to remember here is that DNA is found innearlky every cell in your body so cheek cells, saliva or blood are all very effective.

DNA Testing & Data Protection

A lot has been made in the media recently over what happens to your sample once it has been tested. When selecting a company do check what happens top your sample , you need to look for companies that destroy your sample after it has been tested. Also ask how your results are stored. You should have an anonymous ID so they cannot be linked directly to you. 

Look for companies in the UK who are compliant to the data protection Act and look for the certificate ISO27001 the international award for data security and management.

Selecting A Test Provider

As well as data protection also check out what support is given to you after the test results. Many providers will give you somebody to talk your results over with and certainly sleep results are often offered alongside other results relating to diet and fitness. In this case they may also give you access to nutritionist and dieticians. The advice however with any form of DNA testing is to also talk to your GP.