Friday, April 14, 2017

Are You A Night Owl?

     Many of us have heard the term "night owl," however do genetics contribute to the late night behavior? Staying up late and having trouble waking up is often diagnosed as delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) according to sleep clinicians. It is estimated to affect about 15% of the population in the United States. People with DSPD have a delayed circadian rhythm, which in your internal clock aligning with the physiology of the environment. People's circadian rhythm have a clear genetic basis that has remained the same over the course of evolutionary history. In cases of people with DSPD, there is a large part of the protein expressed by the gene to be missing. This change makes the inhibitor hyperactive, causing it to repress the activators for too long and extend the circadian cycle by at least a half an hour if not more.
     Fortunately, I am not part of the 15% of night owls. In fact, I am the complete opposite. I have a very hard time staying up late, and find myself fatigued throughout the day. I am a very early riser, having no trouble at all hopping out of bed as soon as my alarm sounds. However, I must do farther research on this topic, as it pertains to my boyfriend. He on the other hand, cannot fall asleep early, and cannot wake up at a decent hour. Now he can make the valid argument that it is not laziness, but genetics causing this behavior!

Night Owls
Internal Clock
Image result for circadian cycle


  1. As college students with schedules that change semester to semester it makes it difficult to establish a sleep schedule that is effective. In the case of the last fall semester and the current spring semester I went from 10:30 classes a few days a week too 8:30 AM classes everyday. Due to the change I went from falling asleep past 12 PM to before 10 PM so I think I can rule myself out of the 15% who have DSPD. I worry that some individuals may want to identify as having this type of issue even though it is more likely a habitual problem not merely genetically regulated.

  2. I think this is interesting because I personally know someone is who a night owl. He works throughout the day, granted sometimes there are late nights in which he gets done work at 1 am, but can never seem to fall asleep early. I also seem like the one that is the kill joy since I personally can not stay up all night while he is able to stay up all the way to the crack of dawn, run on little to no sleep and still be able to function throughout the day.

  3. Personally, I find myself easily woken up in the morning without much trouble getting out of bed. However on the other hand, I have trouble falling asleep most nights. Both my parents seem to be the same way as I am so it is very interesting that genetics could have something to do with DSPD and unusual circadian rhythms. Maybe if further research is made on this possible discovery, some preventative medical techniques can be taken to align a person's circadian rhythm to normal.