Not a morning person? Blame your DNA
Not a morning person? It might be in your DNA.
I feel like this is not the first study of its kind but it’s the most recent: new research from 23andMe suggests that your genes may decide whether you are a morning person or a night person.
Anyone who is not a morning person and who has tried unsuccessfully for years to become one knows this must be true and doesn’t need some silly study to tell us. But it’s nice to have possible confirmation because we’re always being told that the only way to be successful in life is to get up at 5 am to meditate, do yoga, go running, and write in your gratitude journal before breakfasting on lemon water and kale, and if you don’t do this you’re a no good layabout who will never amount to anything. Also, something like 90% of CEOs get up early.
Anyway. It’s not our faults, if you believe this study, which I choose to do.
23andMe, Inc., “the leading personal genetics company,” (meaning you send them your spit and they tell you stuff they learn from your genes like how European you are and how likely your kids are to have green eyes) has released the results of what, according to a media release, is “one of the largest genome-wide association studies of its kind, identifying genetic variants associated with being a morning person.”
Published in Nature Communications the study identified 15 locations in DNA (loci) associated with “morningness.” (I know. Spell Check doesn’t think it’s a word either.)
“In this study we set out to discover more about an individual’s preference toward early rising and were able to identify the genetic associations with ‘morningness’ as well as ties to lifestyle patterns and other traits,” said lead author Youna Hu.
Morningness is apparently governed by differences in circadian rhythm, which have been linked to medically relevant factors such as sleep, obesity, and mental health.
The study, which included samples from more than 89,000 23andMe customers, found that “seven of the loci associated with morningness are near genes previously known to be involved in circadian rhythm, including HCRTR2 (linked to narcolepsy), FBXL3 (shown to have extended circadian period) and VIP (found to prolong REM sleep).” (Translation: this has something to do with being a morning person being in your genes.) (I think.)
Additional findings from the study and data from 23andMe customers reportedly include:
The majority (56%) of participants consider themselves night owls
Women and adults over age 60 are more likely to be morning people
Morning people are significantly less likely to have insomnia, or to suffer from depression than individuals who reported being “night owls”
The researchers also found that after taking into account the effect of age and sex, morning people are likely to have lower BMI. This does not imply causation.
So, if you can’t get up in the morning, maybe you can blame your genes. (Unless you’re lying to yourself and you should be blaming the wine.)
Unfortunately, this doesn’t give us any actual leverage when it comes to getting out of being on time for work. So, if you’re often tired, here are some tips on how to get more sleep so you can be less tired.