Objective: Sleep disturbances are frequently observed in major depressive (MDD) and bipolar disorder (BD). This study reported sleep profiles of patients and their relatives versus controls, and examined the familiality of sleep features in mood disorder families. We also evaluated the influences of sleep disturbance on patients' quality of life (QOL), functional impairment, and suicidality. Methods: We recruited 363 BD and 157 MDD patients, 521 first-degree relatives, and 235 healthy controls, which completed a diagnostic interview, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and QOL questionnaire. The magnitude of heritability of sleep features was calculated and familiality was evaluated by mixed regression models and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The associations between sleep problems and clinical outcomes were examined using multiple regression models. Results: More than three-quarters of mildly-ill patients were classified as "poor sleepers". MDD patients had significantly worse sleep quality as compared to BD patients. Moderate but significant familial aggregation was observed in subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, disturbance, daytime dysfunction, and global score (ICC=0.10-0.21, P<.05). Significant heritability was found in sleep quality (0.45, P<.001) and sleep disturbance (0.23, P<.001). Patients with good sleep quality had better QOL and less functional impairment (P<.05) than poor sleepers. Poor sleep quality and nightmares further increased the risk for suicidal ideation (ORadj=2.8) and suicide attempts (ORadj=1.9-2.8). Conclusion: Subjectively measured sleep features demonstrated significant familiality. Poor sleep quality further impaired patients' daily function and QOL, in addition to increasing the risk of suicidality, and thus requires special attention in related clinical settings.
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