Either you are a night owl or an early bird. There is no way around it. If you are tired of your tendency to stay up late or cannot get over the idea of waking up late, genetics might be to blame. Finally, a study has been conducted by scientists, which reveals that genetics impacts our sleeping patterns. New genetics are what make someone a morning person or a night owl. Thus, the thought that no matter how hard you try, you will always have a tough time waking up early is true.

Our genes influence our sleeping patterns and how our body clock regulates. Biologists have managed to link over 300 genes to the inability to feel active in the morning. The analysis shows us that there is a close association between our sleeping and waking habits and mental health.

According to a University of Exeter Medical School geneticist, Samuel Jones, the study indicates that one of the main reasons why some people feel drowsy once midnight approaches, while others remain as ecstatic as ever, is because of the difference in the way our brains react to the regular functioning of our internal clocks and external light signals. Therefore, it seems that our internal clocks run a little slower or faster based on the difference in our genetic code. It might seem like a small difference. However, it potentially impacts our ability to keep track of time and alters our risk of mental health disorders and disease.     

If there is one thing that you must have noticed, it is the fact that we all wake up at the same time every morning and feel sleepy at the same time every night. When it comes to our fondness for rising early or sleeping in, gender, age, and the amount of ambient light that enters the bedroom plays a huge role. However, our preference for one or the other tends to also have a genetic basis.

Previously, researchers from different groups discovered 24 genetic variations that impact our daily rhythms of wakefulness and sleep. A study in which the key genes in mice were altered led to the mice experiencing high blood sugar and obesity. Similarly, previous studies even revealed that there is a link between our sleeping habits and diseases like depression and type-2 diabetes.

In the latest study conducted by Jones and colleagues, the team of researchers mined data from 23andMe, a genetics’ testing company and a British BioBank that monitors the health of close to half a million participants and maintains a repository of their saliva, urine, and blood samples for research purposes. Genomes of around 700,000 individuals of mostly European ancestry and their sleeping habits as self-reported by them were analyzed by scientists. It was found that genes affect when one wants to go to bed and get up.