24 Nov 2016

Is sleep apnea hereditary?

While there are many factors that can put someone at risk for sleep apnea, there is a strong possibility that sleep apnea can be hereditary1,2. To understand how sleep apnea comes about, it’s important to understand what it is caused by and the main misconceptions.

Sleep apnea misconceptions

So exactly how common is sleep apnea and who’s at risk? In fact, many people can suffer from sleep apnea—men and women, older people and even children. Children can exhibit some of the same symptoms as adults, like habitual snoring, noisy breathing, chronic mouth breathing, restless sleep and lethargy or sleepiness.

Sleep apnea and genetics

A family history of this condition is also something you want to discuss with your doctor, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea like loud snoring, lack of energy, daytime sleepiness (even after a full night’s sleep), morning headaches or depression. Genetically inherited physical traits like your face and skull shape, characteristics of your upper airway muscles, and body fat content and distribution could contribute to whether or not you are more prone to suffer from sleep apnea.1,2

Having a family member with sleep apnea could increase your chance of developing or having the disorder. It is also important to understand and be aware of the symptoms. Taking a sleep quiz is a great way to get started and see whether or not you may be at risk for sleep apnea. 

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Treatment for sleep apnea exists, helping sufferers get better quality sleep and enjoy their. If you think that you suffer for sleep apnea and are ready to take the next step, download our eBook “The ultimate guide to understanding your sleep issues”. The guide will prepare you for the conversation you will need to have with your loved one and your doctors, as well as a sleep diary to help you narrow down what’s affecting your sleeping patterns.

Understanding Your Sleep - ResSleep


  1. Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea - http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/obstructive-sleep-apnea-causes#1
  2. The genetics of Sleep Apnea. Sleep Medical Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12531037