Are you allergic to mornings?
A. Everyone has heard of the well known adages, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”- Ben Franklin and “The early bird gets the worm“- Unknown and everyone know how true these sayings are. In fact, there are tons and tons of books and web sites that suggest getting up early is the only way to go if you want to be successful in life. The “Flylady“ system suggests waking up 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the household in order to get a head start. The Side Tracked Home Executive” system suggests the very same thing in their books. Even one of the favorite bloggers of modern women nowadays, at moneysavingmom.com, swears by grabbing the day by the horns and getting up at the crack of dawn. But what if you are not a morning person at all? B. Can’t wake up in the morning, need two cups of coffee before you can start a new day, and you feel awful when you first wake up are just some signs of being allergic to morning. Scientists say it’s all because of our genes. Researchers from the University of Surrey interviewed 500 people. They asked them questions about their lifestyle, for example what time of day they preferred to do exercise and how difficult they found it to wake up in the morning. Scientists then compared their answers to the people’s DNA. They discovered that we all have a ‘clock´ gene, also called a Period 3 gene. This gene can be long or short. People who have the long gene are usually the ones who are very good in the morning, but who get tired quite early at night or what we call “larks”. People who have the short gene are usually more active at night but who have problems waking up early in the morning or the “owls”. C. In the new work, a multidisciplinary research team consisting of biological scientists and psychologists compared how individuals possessing only the longer gene variant and those possessing only the shorter one coped with being kept awake for two days, including the intervening night. The researchers found that although some participants struggled to stay awake, others experienced no problems with the task. The results were most pronounced during the early hours of the morning (between 4 and 8 a.m.), during which individuals with the longer variant of the gene performed very poorly on tests for attention and working memory. The authors point out that this early-morning period corresponds to stretches of time when shift workers struggle to stay awake, during which many accidents related to sleepiness occur. An additional finding was that the effects of this gene on performance may be mediated by its effects on sleep. When the volunteers were allowed to sleep normally, those possessing only the longer form of the gene spent about 50% more of their time in slow-wave sleep, the deepest form of sleep. Slow-wave sleep is a marker of sleep need, and it is known that carrying a sleep debt makes it very difficult to stay awake and perform at night.
The findings highlight a possible role for clock genes in human sleep physiology and structure, and the influence these genes might have on performance by unrested individuals.
D. The preference for morning or evening is known as your sleep chronotype, and it affects our waistline, fertility, pain levels and even cancer risk. It also affects personality — a study found that night owls are more likely to demonstrate dark personality traits including narcissism and deceitfulness. Whether you have a morning or evening chronotype is dictated by your biological 24-hour clock, explains Dr. Tim Quinnell, from the Sleep Laboratory at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge. This, in turn, is heavily influenced by genes. ‘Everything in the body — every reaction, hormone, gene switching on and off — is governed by the internal clock,’ he says. ‘And it’s this clock that makes early types wake when they do, and late types able to carry on into the night.’ The gene is thought to affect ‘sleep pressure’. As well as our biological clock controlling when we sleep and wake, we also have a system that builds up feelings of sleepiness throughout the day — the peak is when we are at our most tired and need to go to bed. The Period-3 gene causes sleep pressure to affect larks and owls differently, explains Dr. Simon Archer, reader in chronobiology at the University of Surrey. ‘The larks have a sleep pressure that builds up much more quickly. So as they go through a normal day, they get more tired more quickly.’ E. How does it help us to know if we have the long or short gene? Scientists say that, if possible, we should try to change our working hours to fit our ‘body clock’. If you are a ‘morning person then you could start work early and finish early. But if you are bad in the mornings, then it might be better to start work in the afternoon and work until late at night. Without a doubt the
time of day you get up can greatly influence and alter the amount of success you have in life.