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A large-scale genomic study has identified which genes could be responsible for keeping you awake at night – which in turn could cause depression or heart disease.

An international collaboration led by the University of Exeter Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has discovered 57 areas of the genome that are linked to insomnia. The research, conducted using data from more than 450,000 people in the UK Biobank and published in Nature Genetics, also found that frequent insomnia could cause depression and coronary artery disease, a form of heart disease. The research surveyed participants in the cohorts on their sleeping habits and whether they have difficulty falling asleep at night. This was analysed alongside responses to questions about mood to indicate whether they had depression. These findings have been confirmed in at least three other insomnia groups.

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