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In the era of nutritional and wellbeing awareness, it's no secret that all the processes of the body are interconnected. 

Experts up till now have identified strong evidence to suggest that eating habits are crucial for the quality of sleep. 

But what about the other way round?

Could your sleep quality, duration, and hygiene affect how much you eat?

Sleep and Hunger Hormone

The hunger hormone found in our body is called Ghrelin.

Its main function is to increase our appetite and induce the feeling of hunger.

Ghrelin also regulates glucose homeostasis (blood sugar regulation) and promotes fat storage. 

On the other hand, a hormone called Leptin induces satiety or the feeling of fullness.

The levels of both these hormones significantly influence your eating habits.

Image: Hunger-regulating hormones

Research has shown that sleep patterns influence ghrelin levels

When a person is asleep, the body reassures the brain that the existing energy levels are sufficient for the time being.

Hence, the ghrelin levels decrease, and at the same time, leptin levels rise.

A study has found a significant association between sleep duration and leptin and ghrelin levels, independent of age, sex, BMI, and other confounding factors.  

A single night of disrupted sleep increases ghrelin levels and typically has no effects on leptin levels.

However, chronic sleeplessness results in the fall of leptin levels as well.

According to a report in the journal of the Public Library of Science, those who consistently slept for 5 or less hours a night had a significantly different profile of the hunger hormones than those who consistently slept for 8 hours.

These changes in the hormone levels ultimately lead to increased hunger and excessive eating, all of which may result in weight gain and obesity. 

An Extra Hour Of Sleep Can Help Lower Calorie Intake

A randomized clinical trial was conducted to examine the effects of sleep extension on energy intake among overweight adults.

The results, published in JAMA Internal Medicine on the 7th of February, reported that the participants who slept for an extra 1.2 hours (72 minutes) per night reduced their energy consumption by 270 kcals per day.

Details of Study Participants

No. of participants80 adult men and women
Age21-40 years
BMI (Body Mass Index)25.0-29.9
Mean sleep duration6.5 hours
RaceAsian, Black or African American, Hispanic, and White

The Study Methods

The participants used an accelerometer-based monitor with an event marker to record their sleep-wake patterns.

During the 2-week baseline, the participants followed their habitual sleep duration.

At the end of two weeks, the participants chosen for sleep extension underwent a counseling session with a sleep hygienist.

The study investigators then advised this group of participants to extend their sleep duration to 8.5 hours. 

On day 22, the participants returned for a brief follow-up and counseling session (if required).

The energy intake and storage were measured using the doubly labeled water method, a urine-based test. 

The Study Results

The Takeaway

Sleep is a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing a plethora of diseases.

Those who habitually sleep for seven hours or less can benefit in terms of weight loss when they extend their sleep duration.

Summary

  1. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and leptin, the satiety hormone, play an important role in regulating eating behavior.
  2. Acute sleep disruption leads to increased ghrelin levels, and chronic sleep disruption leads to reduced leptin levels and increased ghrelin levels.
  3. A study published in the JAMA Network reported that increasing sleep duration by 1.2 hours can reduce energy consumption by 270 kcal/day in individuals who are habituated to <7 hours of sleep.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2788694

Abstract

Night shift work can impact your circadian rhythm by making you operate in a way that is “unnatural” to your sleep-wake cycle. A recent study has reported that people who work night shifts are at an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation and heart disease. The study further reported that among the night shift workers, women who are physically inactive are at the highest risk.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is characterized by irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related ailments.

Generally, the chambers of the heart work in coordination to pump the blood. However, in AF, the two upper chambers of the heart (right auricle and left auricle) beat chaotically and out of coordination with the two lower chambers (right and left ventricle) of the heart. 

Some common symptoms associated with AF include :

Learn Your Genetic Risk for Atrial Fibrillation with Xcode Life’s Gene Health Report

Night Shift And Heart Disease

Night shift workers, on average, get two to three hours less sleep than other workers. They often sleep through the day in two split periods; a few hours in the morning and then around an hour before starting the night shift. 

It’s challenging to keep the sleep environment dark, free of noise, and relatively calm. A person working the night shift is at greater risk of various health conditions due to the disrupted circadian rhythm.

Researchers suggest that working the night shift may lead to hormonal and metabolic changes, which can increase the risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Further, studies report that circadian misalignment results in a drop in levels of the weight-regulating hormone leptin. This can increase heart disease risk by prompting an increase in appetite.

The Study: Night Shift Work and Heart Problems

The study included 286,353 people who were in paid employment or self-employed.

The study cohort was divided into:

The researchers adjusted their analyses for several factors like age, sex, ethnicity, education, socio-economic status, diet, smoking, body mass index, sleep duration, and chronotype that could alter the risk of developing AF.

The researchers, therefore, adjusted these risk factors.

The following were observed in the study:

The study further revealed two more interesting findings.

How To Work The Night Shift and Stay Healthy

Avoid Caffeine Close to Bedtime

Caffeine inhibits your body’s ability to feel sleepy. So, avoid food and drink containing caffeine at least 4 hours before your bedtime.

Maintain A Sleep-Conducive Environment In Your Bedroom

Light exposure can activate all the processes in your body associated with wakefulness, making it difficult for you to fall asleep. Use blackout curtains or blinds that can help block the light entry.

Eat Healthy

Shift work has been associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders. Limit sugar intake and increase protein intake. Eating small, frequent meals can also help maintain your metabolic health.

Exercise Regularly

Avoid daytime exercising when on shift work, as it can promote wakefulness. But, make sure to adopt a consistent exercise routine as this can help lower the risk for heart disease.

Video

Summary

References

The Science Behind Sleep

The common ingredient in your tea, coffee, and energy drinks, caffeine, is the strongest psychoactive drug in the world. It is not a secret that caffeine helps you stay awake. But, how does it manage to do that?

Let's first look at how your brain puts you to sleep.

Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the energy currency of your body. ATP is broken down into a molecule called adenosine in the brain. Adenosine moves around the neurons keeping up your energy levels throughout the day.

As the day progresses, some of these adenosine molecules exit the neurons and bind to the receptors. This causes sleepiness. There are two adenosine receptors, A1 and A2A. A1 receptors are found on neurons that keep the brain awake, and A2A receptors are found on neurons that initiate sleep

caffeine and sleep

Image: Adenosine receptors and sleep

When adenosine binds to the A1 receptor, it reduces the activity of the neurons. When it binds to the A2A receptors, it increases the activity of the receptor. The combination of this binding, along with a few other hormonal changes, makes you sleepy. When you sleep, the adenosine is slowly released from the receptors, and when there isn't enough left to bind to the receptors, you wake up from a refreshed night of sleep.

Caffeine And Sleep

Caffeine and adenosine are similar in structure. So, the caffeine can mimic the adenosine molecules and bind to the A1 and A2A receptors. However, caffeine's structure isn't identical to adenosine. As a result, it doesn't produce the "sleepy" effect.

Instead, it wards off sleepiness by preventing the adenosine molecules from binding and initiating the sleep process.

caffeine and sleep

  Image: Caffeine binding to adenosine receptors

But this effect lasts for only two to four hours, depending on how fast your body can break down the caffeine. This largely depends on your genes. When your body starts getting used to the caffeine intake, it produces more adenosine receptors to counteract the effect of caffeine. You may have to end up consuming more caffeine to stay awake!

Caffeine Withdrawal

Increased caffeine consumption leads to increased production of the receptor, which again results in increased caffeine consumption. It is a pretty vicious cycle that can make you a chronic caffeine drinker! As a result, you eventually develop caffeine tolerance. When you abruptly bid farewell to caffeine, you may end up feeling way too drowsy because of the additional adenosine receptors in the brain. This is called caffeine withdrawal.

Caffeine withdrawal is characterized by other symptoms like:

They can last up to a week till the number of receptors goes back to normal. Caffeine isn't as addicting or life-threatening compared to drugs like cocaine. People tend to have a mild physical dependence on this drug. People cannot overdose on caffeine easily. An average adult would have to have about 100 cups of coffee, which amounts to 10 grams of caffeine, to experience any lethal effects of caffeine.

The adenosine receptors are also found in the heart and kidneys. Activation of the receptors decreases the activity of these organs as well. Reduced urine output and heart rate prepare the body for a good night's sleep. However, when caffeine goes and binds instead, it results in increased heart rate and urine production. This is manifested as caffeine jitters and dehydration.

Caffeine isn't very dangerous; however, children should avoid it. Scientists haven't understood the effect of caffeine on a developing brain yet. It is also unhealthy for an adult to be consuming too much caffeine. Sleep and rest are essential for healthy brain function and well-being. 

Getting a Genetic Test

The genes that metabolize caffeine can say a lot about how much caffeine is "healthy" for you. A genetic test can help identify your caffeine metabolizing status. 


Xcode Life's Gene Sleep report profiles genes that influence sleep upon caffeine consumption. All you need is your genetic ancestry test raw data to get started!

Video

What Is A Chronotype?

Research shows that your bedtime may actually be linked to your DNA! Everyone’s biological clock is wired differently; it’s not in sync. Environmental and genetic factors affect your circadian rhythm, or your internal clock. Circadian rhythms, in turn, influence your sleeping pattern.  

Your preferred sleeping pattern is called your ‘chronotype.’ Going to sleep around 11 PM and waking up around 7 AM puts you in the average chronotype category. Someone with an average chronotype gets roughly the same amount of sleep on both working and non-working days, and this is good.  

About 40% of the population does not belong to this category. They have late or early chronotypes. These people will find it pretty difficult to go to work after a free day. They may even experience symptoms of jet lag.

What contributes to the difference in chronotypes?

Melatonin: The Sleep Hormone

Melatonin is the "sleep hormone" that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the body. It is produced by a neuron bundle called Suprachiasmatic Nucleus or SCN for short. 

For people with the average chronotype, melatonin production starts around 9 PM, and the whole body enters into the 'rest mode' by 10:30 PM. The body temperature enters its lowest around 4:30 AM. These people usually wake up around 6:45 AM when the blood pressure spikes to the highest point. They are known as the 'early risers' and are alert and active during the daytime. 

For people with the late chronotype, this whole cycle happens later during the day. As a result, they tend to sleep and wake up much later. 

what is a chronotype?

They may not entirely be able to fix this. This is because the CLOCK genes found in the SCN neuron bundle regulate the 24-hour cycle in your body. Changes in the CLOCK genes influence your chronotype status - average, or early, or late.

A study was carried out on hamsters to study the contributing factors to chronotype. Scientists replaced the SCN of early chronotype hamsters with that of average chronotype hamsters. To their surprise, the hamsters still went to sleep and woke up early, according to their early chronotype. 

This is because, other than the SCN clock, the body also contains other biological clocks, all of which contribute to a person’s chronotype. And, this is why it can be very difficult to break out of your natural sleeping pattern. 

Chronotype Genetic Test

To know what your chronotype is based on your genes, you can get a genetic test done. Most genetic tests provide your DNA information in the form of a text file called the raw DNA data. At Xcode Life, can help you interpret this data.

All you have to do is upload your raw data and order a sleep report. Xcode Life then analyzes your raw data in detail to provide you with a comprehensive sleep analysis, including information on your chronotype and risk for various sleep disorders.

Video

The Science Of Sleep

The common ingredient in your tea, coffee, and energy drinks, caffeine, is the strongest psychoactive drug in the world. It is not a secret that caffeine helps you stay awake. But, how does it manage to do that?

Let's first look at how your brain puts you to sleep.

Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the energy currency of your body. ATP is broken down into a molecule called adenosine in the brain. Adenosine moves around the neurons keeping up your energy levels throughout the day.

As the day progresses, some of these adenosine molecules exit the neurons and bind to the receptors. This causes sleepiness. There are two adenosine receptors, A1 and A2A. A1 receptors are found on neurons that keep the brain awake, and A2A receptors are found on neurons that initiate sleep

caffeine and sleep

When adenosine binds to the A1 receptor, it reduces the activity of the neurons. When it binds to the A2A receptors, it increases the activity of the receptor. The combination of this binding, along with a few other hormonal changes, makes you sleepy. When you sleep, the adenosine is slowly released from the receptors, and when there isn't enough left to bind to the receptors, you wake up from a refreshed night of sleep.

Caffeine and Sleep

Caffeine and adenosine are similar in structure. So, the caffeine can mimic the adenosine molecules and bind to the A1 and A2A receptors. However, caffeine's structure isn't identical to adenosine. As a result, it doesn't produce the "sleepy" effect.

Instead, it wards off sleepiness by preventing the adenosine molecules from binding and initiating the sleep process.  

caffeine and sleep

But this effect lasts for only two to four hours, depending on how fast your body can break down the caffeine. This largely depends on your genes. When your body starts getting used to the caffeine intake, it produces more adenosine receptors to counteract the effect of caffeine. You may have to end up consuming more caffeine to stay awake!

Caffeine Withdrawal

Increased caffeine consumption leads to increased production of the receptor, which again results in increased caffeine consumption. It is a pretty vicious cycle that can make you a chronic caffeine drinker! As a result, you eventually develop caffeine tolerance. When you abruptly bid farewell to caffeine, you may end up feeling way too drowsy because of the additional adenosine receptors in the brain. This is called caffeine withdrawal.

Caffeine withdrawal is characterized by other symptoms like:

They can last up to a week till the number of receptors goes back to normal. Caffeine isn't as addicting or life-threatening compared to drugs like cocaine. People tend to have a mild physical dependence on this drug. People cannot overdose on caffeine easily. An average adult would have to have about 100 cups of coffee, which amounts to 10 grams of caffeine, to experience any lethal effects of caffeine.

The adenosine receptors are also found in the heart and kidneys. Activation of the receptors decreases the activity of these organs as well. Reduced urine output and heart rate prepare the body for a good night's sleep. However, when caffeine goes and binds instead, it results in increased heart rate and urine production. This is manifested as caffeine jitters and dehydration.

Caffeine isn't very dangerous; however, children should avoid it. Scientists haven't understood the effect of caffeine on a developing brain yet. It is also unhealthy for an adult to be consuming too much caffeine. Sleep and rest are essential for healthy brain function and well-being. 

Getting a Genetic Test

The genes that metabolize caffeine can say a lot about how much caffeine is "healthy" for you. A genetic test can help identify your caffeine metabolizing status. 

Xcode Life's Gene Sleep report profiles genes that influence sleep upon caffeine consumption. All you need is your genetic ancestry test raw data to get started!

Video

Introduction: What Is Snoring?

Snoring is the loud or harsh sound from the nose or mouth that occurs when breathing is partially obstructed. The sound is produced when the soft palate and other soft tissues (such as uvula, tonsils, nasal turbinates, and others) in the upper airway vibrate.

Affecting nearly 90 million Americans, it can lead to disturbed, unrefreshing sleep, ultimately resulting in poor daytime function. Snoring is caused due to obstruction of air passage, resulting in the vibration of respiratory structures and the production of sound during breathing while asleep.

Snoring is more prevalent in males than in females. Certain risk factors such as genetic predisposition, throat weakness, obesity, mispositioned jaw, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, and mouth breathing are associated with snoring.

How Do Genes Influence Snoring Risk?

Twin and family studies have identified the association between genetic factors and snoring risk, with heritability ranging between 18 to 28%.

A recent study published in 2019 leveraged data from a large U.K. Biobank study consisting of the Australian adult population to identify the molecular mechanisms associated with snoring.

MSRB3 Gene and Snoring

MSRB3 is associated with protein and lipid metabolism pathways, which are related to hippocampal volume (a region in the brain) and lung function. Such genetic associations are consistent with the findings that severe bouts of snoring may be due to:
- Nocturnal oxygen desaturation (temporary drop in oxygen levels in hemoglobin)
- Lowered neuropsychological functions, with reduced ability to consolidate memory.

rs10878269 And Snoring

The rs10878269 is G>A polymorphism located in the MSRB3 gene. A study by Jones, Samuel E., et al.2016 showed that variant rs10878269 was significantly associated with reduced snoring risk.

Non-genetic Influences On Snoring

Effects Of Snoring

Snoring is not often considered a serious health concern except in some conditions. Snoring can usually be cured through simple home remedies. Light and infrequent snoring is completely normal. Snoring that is linked to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is, however, worrisome and needs to be treated.

Tips For A Snore-free Sleep

  1. Reduce the consumption of alcohol and sedatives as this relaxes your muscles and leads to snoring.
  2. Maintain your weight as obesity and being overweight are risk factors for snoring and sleep apnea.
  3. Change your sleeping position. When you sleep on your back, your airway has higher chances of getting blocked. Sleeping on your side, raising your head by a few inches, or using a pillow to improve your neck position are a few alternative sleep positions to try.
  4. Relieve nasal congestion before you sleep.
  5. Anti-snoring mouthpieces can be used to hold your jaw and tongue in a suitable position to prevent blockage of the airway,
  6. Throat exercises can help strengthen the muscles and prevent them from collapsing during sleep.
  7. Try to quit smoking. Smoking can result in inflammation in the upper airway passage, and this blocks airflow.

Video

Summary

  1. Snoring is a common sleep disorder that affects over 90 million Americans. It is characterized by a loud noise from the nose/mouth due to an obstructed airway.
  2. Genetic predisposition, throat weakness, obesity, mispositioned jaw, obstructive sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, and mouth breathing are some risk factors associated with snoring.
  3. The MSRB3 gene, associated with protein and lipid metabolism pathways related to lung function and hippocampal volume, affects sleep-related snoring. The rs10878269 SNP, a G>A polymorphism, is associated with a reduced risk of snoring.
  4. Snoring is not a serious health concern unless linked to other sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA).
  5. Changing your sleeping position, maintaining a healthy weight, reduced alcohol consumption and smoking, and throat exercises are some of the recommendations to have a snore-free sleep at night.

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32060260/

Abstract

Depression, a fairly common mood disorder, is a major influencer of health and wellness. Recent research has found a link between depression and sleep timing and preferences. The reports suggest that an individual who wakes up an hour earlier than usual has a significantly decreased depression risk. These results could help a person improve their mental health by fixing their sleep cycle.

The Link Between Sleep And Mood

Depression is characterized by feelings of loss, sadness, and anger. Such mood disorders are usually linked to lack of sleep and various other factors like stress, family history, etc. 

Previous studies have found an association between sleep timing and mood. Further insights from these studies have shown that night owls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as early risers regardless of their sleep duration. 

Another study showed that early risers were up to 27% less likely to develop depression over the years. But, additional research is needed to examine the genetic and environmental factors and understand the relationship between sleep and mood disorders.

12-24% of our sleep timing is influenced by genetics. Researchers have found over 340 genetic changes that play a role in a person’s chronotype - morning or evening person.

Mood disorders can disrupt sleep cycles; hence researchers have been working on finding a causal relationship between them. These findings could hold significant implications for improving  mental health.

Waking just one hour earlier cuts depression risk by 23%

A genetic study led by Iyas Daghlas M.D aimed to understand the protective nature of sleep schedule shifts. 

The study was conducted with data of up to 850,000 individuals from UK-based Biobank and DNA testing company 23andMe - 85,000 who had worn wearable sleep trackers for seven days and 250,000 who had filled out sleep-preference questionnaires.

A third of this group self-identified as morning larks, and only 9% were night owls; the rest were somewhere in the middle.

The study also used a different sample consisting of genetic information along with surveys about diagnoses of major depressive disorders and anonymized medical and prescription records.

The results of the study suggest that scheduling your sleep an hour early can reduce your risk of major depressive disorder by 23%. Further, going to bed 2 hours early can cut down the risk by 40%! 

The study also lays down a possible explanation that could explain this result. Going to bed early makes it easier to wake up early in the day. This could mean longer exposure to the daylight, which has a positive impact on mood. Others seem to suggest that having a biological clock that differs from most people can itself be depressing. 

Recommendations to become an early riser

Summary

References

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

Restless Leg Syndrome (also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease) is a neurologic and sleep-related movement disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move in the legs, which typically occurs or worsens at rest. Affected people may experience abnormal, uncomfortable sensations ( paresthesia or dysesthesias ) that are often linked to cramping, crawling, burning, aching, itching, or prickling deep within the affected areas.

This condition has a 10% prevalence rate, with an increase in incidences as age advances. Since the symptoms occur during sleep and relaxation, it could disrupt a good night's sleep.
Restless leg syndrome causes an uncomfortable urge to move, which can be relieved by walking or moving the extremities. This interferes with sleep maintenance

How Does Genetics Influence the Risk of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

Restless leg syndrome shows an anticipation inheritance - with each generation, the age of onset of this condition advances.

A GWAS meta-analysis study of restless leg syndrome (RLS) in European ancestry has demonstrated the significant association of RLS with MEIS1, BTBD9, PTPRD, and other genes.

BTBD9 and RLS

BTBD9 gene variants have been associated with RLS, with two experimental models providing better insights. The loss of this gene was associated with increased waking from sleep, motor activity, higher motor restlessness, and altered serum iron levels.

MEIS1 and RLS

The MEIS1 gene is a transcription factor that plays a key role in hematopoiesis, endothelial cell development, and vascular patterning.
It also plays a role in neurodevelopment.
Research studies have shown that the reduced MEIS1 levels and function of the gene may contribute to the pathogenesis of sleep-related disorders.

rs113851554 And RLS
The rs113851554 is a G>T polymorphism located in the MEIS1 gene, which is found to be correlated with multiple sleep disorders.

A GWAS meta-analysis study of RLS in European ancestry has demonstrated that the rs113851554 T allele is associated with an increased risk of developing RLS susceptibility.

Non-genetic Influences on RLS Risk

Some nutritional deficiencies have been implicated in RLS. They include:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Iron deficiency

Some medical conditions associated with RLS are:
- Depression
- Diabetes
- Fibromyalgia
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hypothyroidism

Effects of Restless Legs Syndrome on Health

  1. Many people with restless leg syndrome find it hard to fall asleep and have a good quality of sleep at night.
  2. There is a risk of depression and other health problems.
  3. Napping during the day becomes difficult.
  4. It interferes with your day-to-day activities, concentration, and productivity.
  5. It causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
  6. About 80% of people with RLS have a condition called periodic limb movement of sleep which causes the legs to twitch or jerk during sleep. This leads to sleep deprivation.

Tips for Managing Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

Iron Supplements : Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of RLS. If you test positive for iron deficiency, you may get started on iron supplements after consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Baths and massages : Warm showers and massages can help relax muscles and prevent unnecessary leg movements.
Exercise : Restless Legs Syndrome foundation recommends moderate exercising to help manage RLS.
Avoid caffeine : High caffeine intake can worsen RLS. Either limit or avoid caffeine intake.

Summary

  1. Restless Leg Syndrome is a neurologic and sleep-related movement disorder characterized by an irresistible urge to move in the legs, which typically occurs or worsens at rest. Symptoms occur during sleep, and relaxation disrupts a good night's sleep.
  2. A significant association between MEIS1, BTBD9, PTPRD genes, and RLS has been established. The T allele of the rs113851554 SNP found in the MEIS1 gene is associated with an increased risk of developing RLS.
  3. Vitamin D deficiency, iron deficiency, depression, and diabetes are associated with RLS.
    RLS leads to a risk of depression, other health problems, problems with napping, and sleep deprivation. It interferes with your day-to-day activities, concentration, and productivity.
  4. Iron supplements, baths and massage, exercise, and caffeine can help manage restless leg syndrome.

Reference

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29029846/

Introduction: What is Sleep Bruxism?

Sleep Bruxism (also known as Teeth Grinding) is defined as repetitive jaw muscle activity during sleep. It is characterized by an unconscious act of grinding or clenching one's teeth tightly together. Over time, it could lead to damage of teeth, oral health conditions, facial muscle pain, sleep disturbances, difficulty while speaking or eating.

Sleep Bruxism is more common in children, adolescents, and young adults than middle-aged and older adults.

The prevalence of sleep bruxism is estimated to be around 15% in adolescents, around 8% of middle-aged adults, and only 3% in older adults.

According to statistical studies 6-50% of children experience nighttime teeth grinding.

How Does Genetics Influence Sleep Bruxism Risk?

Multiple studies have demonstrated that there may be a degree of inherited susceptibility to develop sleep bruxism. According to a study, around 21-50% of affected individuals have an immediate family member who had sleep bruxism during childhood.

Few studies have shown the significant associations of certain variants in neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and others ( DRD3, HTR2A, COMT, MMP9, and others) with sleep bruxism.

DRD3 Gene and Sleep Bruxism

The DRD3 gene encodes the D3 subtype of the dopamine receptor, which is localized to the regions of the brain involved in cognitive, emotional, and endocrine functions.
Variations in DRD3 are implicated in the physiopathology of diseases affecting those functions.

rs6280 and and Sleep Bruxism

The rs6280 is a T>C polymorphism located in the DRD3 gene, where the C allele may increase dopamine affinity and efficacy. Studies have shown that the Gly variant (C) is significantly associated with increased susceptibility to sleep bruxism.

Non-genetic Influences on Sleep Bruxism Risk

Sleep bruxism may be accelerated by lifestyle factors as well. Some of them include:
- Stress
- Alcohol consumption
- Anxiety
- Cigarette smoking
- Upper airway resistance
- Caffeine consumption

Effects of Bruxism on Health

  1. There is significant damage to the teeth. The teeth can become painful, shaky, and get eroded. Any implants have a risk of getting damaged.
  2. It leads to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which connects the lower jaw to the skull. This causes locking of the jaw, difficulty with chewing, popping, or clicking noises, and chronic jaw pain.
  3. The sound from clenching and grinding your teeth can make it harder for the person you share your bed with to fall asleep.

Tips for Managing Bruxism

Mouth guards - Mouth guards help keep the teeth separated and hence prevent grinding.
Stress management - Stress is one of the major contributors to teeth grinding. So finding ways to alleviate stress can help prevent teeth grinding.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine - Teeth grinding tends to intensify upon alcohol and caffeine consumption.
Avoid chewing on pens and pencils - This practice gets your jaws used to grinding movement and may increase your tendency to grind your teeth.

Summary

  1. Sleep Bruxism is defined as repetitive jaw muscle activity during sleep. Over time, it could damage teeth, oral health conditions, facial muscle pain, sleep disturbances, and difficulty while speaking or eating.
  2. It is more common in children, adolescents, and young adults than in middle-aged and older adults.
  3. Few studies have shown the significant associations of certain variants in neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and others DRD3, HTR2A, COMT, MMP9, and others with sleep bruxism.
    1. The C allele of rs6280 SNP found in the DRD3 gene, a dopamine receptor, is associated with increased susceptibility to sleep bruxism.
  4. As sleep bruxism causes severe damage to the teeth over time and leads to problems with the temporomandibular joint, it needs to be managed. Using mouth guards, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, managing stress, and not chewing on pens and pencils can help.

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32471213/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27611726/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28451935/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30092895/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25628080/

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