Investigating genetic correlations and causal effects between caffeine consumption and sleep behaviours

Journal of Sleep Research
Jorien L TreurMarcus R Munafò


Observationally, higher caffeine consumption is associated with poorer sleep and insomnia. We investigated whether these associations are a result of shared genetic risk factors and/or (possibly bidirectional) causal effects. Summary-level data were available from genome-wide association studies on caffeine intake (n = 91 462), plasma caffeine and caffeine metabolic rate (n = 9876), sleep duration and chronotype (being a "morning" versus an "evening" person) (n = 128 266), and insomnia complaints (n = 113 006). First, genetic correlations were calculated, reflecting the extent to which genetic variants influencing caffeine consumption and those influencing sleep overlap. Next, causal effects were estimated with bidirectional, two-sample Mendelian randomization. This approach utilizes the genetic variants most robustly associated with an exposure variable as an "instrument" to test causal effects. Estimates from individual variants were combined using inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis, weighted median regression and MR-Egger regression. We found no clear evidence for a genetic correlation between caffeine intake and sleep duration (rg = 0.000, p = .998), chronotype (rg = 0.086, p = .192) or insomnia complaints (rg = -0.034...Continue Reading


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