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You could have been destined for insomnia at birth

If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you're three times more likely than someone without insomnia to have a sibling or parent with the same condition.

This suggests a potential biological predisposition to insomnia, so why are we regularly told that insomnia is a symptom of another underlying condition?

Furthermore, it is now understood that in about 10% of chronic insomnia cases, the cause is a deficiency of GABA (a neurotransmitter in the brain).

A 2010 study found that levels of GABA were 30% less in patients suffering from insomnia. This suggests that your biological makeup could be the cause of your insomnia.

This is interesting as it adds further weight to the argument that we need to stop assuming insomnia is a secondary condition. Sure, for some people it is - but we need to stop assuming this is the case for everyone.

All insomniacs are different and suffer with insomnia for different reasons. Let's hope we see more research undertaken on the link between GABA and insomnia, along with some new treatment options.


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Last updated: December 4, 2014

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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  • A. Marina Fournier
    December 16, 2010, 12:05 am

    Thank you, seenafterscene–the word Gabapentin was floating in my brain, and I knew I should know it, but I kept getting too distracted to look it up.
    I’ve asked my pdoc to talk to me about it, because I can ask her questions more effectively than I can ask the Wikipedia.

  • seenafterscene
    December 14, 2010, 6:17 pm

    Interesting the biological/genetic link possibility, I might futher stipulate a psychological/upbringing link, and I only say that based on my personal experience. Both my Mother and I suffer from chronic insomnia and have for most of our lives, but I am adopted.

    It was also fascinating to read about the deficiency of GABA, as Neurontin which is chemically similar to GABA (hence the generic name Gabapentin) is currently one of my medicines of choice to treat said insomnia.