Do you find yourself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to find you? Or do you find that you need a little more sleep than everyone you know to function properly during the day? Sleep problems affect millions of people and it may not just be your lifestyle that’s to blame.
Some research has indicated that your insomnia is written directly into your genetic code, passed down from generation to generation. Sometimes, your body just doesn’t want to fall asleep — or wake up from sleep — and while many people may tell you that you can change your diet or exercise more (which do help somewhat), you may never be able to change the fact that you have problems sleeping.
“Some research has indicated that your
insomnia is written directly into your
genetic code, passed down from
generation to generation.”
Here’s a quick glance at genetics and how they may affect your sleeping habits.
What are Genes?
Genes are what make you, you. They are passed down from parent to child, all throughout your family history, and are made up of DNA strands that code everything from the shape of your nose, the color of your eyes and hair, and even some of your behavioral tendencies.
The study of genetics has been a promising one ever since the discovery of DNA in 1953, and scientists in the 21st century have unlocked many of its mysteries. Surprisingly, one of the things that your genes may affect is your sleeping habits: whether you sleep peacefully all night or if you get a fitful four hours every night, your genes may be responsible for it.
Genes and REM Sleep
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is important because it is during these times at night that your sleep is the deepest and best. The research above indicates that mice who are constantly sleepy throughout the day have a gene that inhibits REM sleep.
The corollary to this is that those mice without the gene had better sleeping habits and weren’t as tired as the others. This is a strong indication that your genetics may have a large part to do with your sleeping habits.
“While there are always things you can
do to help you sleep better, some of
your sleeping habits can just be
chalked up to your genetics.”
What You Can Do for Better Sleep
Short of a breakthrough in gene therapy, there’s nothing you can do about your genetics: everyone gets what they get. There are some things, however, that you can do in your daily life to help counteract those genetics.
First, eating healthy will give you the nutrients you need to get through the day without feeling tired and drained, which will help you sleep better at night. Getting a good amount of exercise is important as well, even if it’s just 15 minutes every day. Finally, try not to oversleep. Using a good alarm clock like this alarm clock app and forcing yourself out of bed may actually help you feel better during the day and help you fall asleep faster at night.
While there are always things you can do to help you sleep better, some of your sleeping habits can just be chalked up to your genetics.
Are you concerned about your sleeping habits?
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