Tossing, turning – inevitably getting up to go fetch a snack or browse the web at 4AM.
Almost everyone has been there.
But, for some people, this grim reality is a recurring one. As hard as they try, they simply can’t sleep well on a consistent basis.
This usually leads to a search about why sweet slumber is so hard to come by. We’ve all heard the typical and most common explanations. The environment can play a factor, as can personal habits. Yet, one sleep study revealed another culprit which could explain chronic sleeplessness that just won’t subside.
It could be in a person’s genes.
Details on Why Sleep Genes Affect Our Slumber
The linked study saw thousands of participants, each wearing an accelerometer, have their sleep habits analyzed.
The results showed nearly four dozen genetic links to sleep quality, duration, and timing – including new data on sleep duration. A gene called PDE11A could be the reason why some individuals simple have trouble falling and staying asleep.
These links were also connected to serotonin production – an important part of sleep cycles, and experiencing that relaxing form of “deep sleep” that truly makes a person feel rested.
The subject of genetics, especially as it relates to sleep, is a young science when compared to other fields. While some aspects of the human genetics are more widely studied, sleep science is still developing and there is much to be learned.
What can be gathered from this study is that sleep habits, as they relate to brain activity, are dependent on a person’s own genetics as well as other factors like their sleep environment and choices.
This study doesn’t discount the fact that good sleep hygiene can help a person sleep. It merely states that genetic factors also play a role – effectively proving that, for many people, sleep depends on a combination of nature and nurture.
Improving Sleep Hygiene Can Still Have an Impact
It’s easy to think that because of genetic factors, a person will always be predisposed to sleep troubles. While it may mean a person could have a harder time sleeping than someone who doesn’t face the same issues, it doesn’t mean they can’t improve their chances.
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