Let's Talk About Sleep

In the past, we have had several conversations about the importance of sleep. We have discussed the differences between REM and non-REM sleep. We have talked about the health implications of not getting enough sleep. This week, we are going to discuss one part of sleep that you have absolutely no control over.

Are you a Morning Lark or a Night Owl?

For years, I have assumed that this distinction was more of a personal choice than anything else. It could be determined by our occupation. Or by the schedules of the people that we live with. What I never realized is that it was much more of a biological distinction. However, there is quite a bit of research that shows that there is, in fact, a genetic difference between early birds and night owls. That is not to say that work schedules and the schedules of the people that you live with will not have an impact on your routine, but your genes have a significant impact too.

My eyes were opened to new possibilities after listening to another podcast interview with Matthew Walker (the author of Why We Sleep) about these chronotypes. Walker said that our sleep habits may change at different stages in our lives, but the genetic predisposition towards either being a Morning Lark or a Night Owl persists over time. He noted that there has been some research into developing a test to determine our sleep tendencies. The results from these questionnaires were then cross-referenced with genetic databases to determine their accuracy. He suggested that there was a significant correlation between the results of the genetic testing to determine whether someone is, genetically, a Morning Lark or a Night Owl, and the results from this questionnaire. According to Walker, the correlation was significant. So rather than go through genetic testing you can simply fill out a questionnaire, that will take all of 5 minutes, to determine your chronotype tendency!

Are you curious? I was! 

If you would like to test yourself, here is the link to the free online test.  

Movement is my medicine,

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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