'Late Sleeper? Blame Your Genes'—Video Explores The Science Behind Night Owls And Early Risers

Are you one of those people who, if left alone by the alarm clock, will snooze until noon? Or are you one of those people who calls people who snooze until noon lazy? Either way, it's not you're fault if you're partial to sleeping half the day away. It's your genes.

A video by Vox "Late sleeper? Blame your genes" looks at the science of sleep and the idea of how the time we go to bed, whether we're a night owl or early riser, is coded into our DNA. Each of us has an internal clock and chronotype, or sleeping pattern, and these vary based upon the individual.

Most people have average chronotypes when it comes to going to bed and waking up on a "free day" when you're not forced to rise for work. This means going to bed around 11PM and getting up around 7AM, but a small minority fall at the lower or upper end of the spectrum, other can fall slightly short of the average either way.

If you are slightly off the average it can mean that going back to work on a Monday morning can often feel like you're severely jet-lagged. And it comes down to what's called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the body's "master clock," a bundle of neurons in a region of the brain in the hypothalamus.

It regulates the body and prepares it for sleep, so for those with average chronotypes around 9PM the SCN tells the pineal gland to produce melatonin to make you sleepy. It also limits bowl movements when you're sleeping and everything else needed for a restful night. And it prepares you for the day too, making sure you feel at your most alert around 10AM.

But if you have a late chronotype all this happens later in the day, meaning you'll want to stay up later and get up late. There's not a lot people can do to change it either, but because we live in a society that worships early risers and stigmatizes those who sleep late, late sleepers get a hard time. Which, according to the science behind it, isn't really fair.

Watch the video to learn more, and maybe don't be so hard on those who get up later at the weekends and feel a little out of sorts come Monday morning. Providing they haven't been up partying all weekend, that is.


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