Not a morning person? It might be genetics working against you

By Kate Hassett

Not a morning person? It might be genetics working against you
Why getting out of bed in the morning is less about sleep and more about genetics

Do you struggle to peel your eyes open when the alarm blares early in the morning? Or are you awake and ready before the alarm even goes off? For many of us, having to wake up is something we would rather avoid at all costs.

Researchers from the department of genetics at the University of Leicester published a study earlier this month, which found that, your inability to wake up in the morning could be linked to more than how much sleep you had the night before – it may be linked to genetics.

In studies conducted with fruit flies, researchers found that different flies “woke up” at different times of the day. Upon replicating the behaviour of the late risers, through various methods including selective breeding, the scientists were able to observe an association between sleep behaviours and genetics.

Flies have often been used as a proxy for humans, as they share 75% of disease-causing genes with us. As such, the authors of the study argue that the findings indicate a pre-disposition to being an “early bird” or a “night owl”.

“The impact of this preference on health and behaviour is well documented, but the molecular basis is largely unknown,” Eran Tauber, a coauthor of the study, told IFLScience.

So you can now blame your parents the next time you sleep through your alarm.



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