Night Owls Can Blame Genetics

If your body doesn’t seem to want to settle into nocturnal slumber at the same time as everyone else, your genetics may have a hand in that.

night owl genetics Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York City have discovered that a variation in the CRY1 gene will cause longer circadian cycles in people, meaning those night owls with the variation could stay awake longer at night, says a university news release.

As many as one in 75 people may have this mutation, according to the study, which was published in the April 6 issue of the journal Cell.

Researchers studied patients who agreed to spend two weeks in a lab apartment with no way to tell what time of day or night it was. They could choose to eat and sleep whenever they wanted.

Most followed a 24-hour sleep/wake cycle. One patient, who was diagnosed with delayed sleep phase disorder, had a cycle that was 30 minutes longer. Five relatives of that person were found to have the same genetic mutation, the study says.

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