Some people need a solid eight hours of sleep every night to function properly during the day. Others only need four or five and they’re ready to go as soon as their alarm clock goes off. Some people fall asleep with no problem and still, others lay awake at night, wishing sleep would come.
Whatever your sleep habits are, you can be sure that your genetic makeup has something to do with it. Your genes affect everything from the way you look to the way you act and think, so it should come as no surprise that it affects the way you sleep as well. Here’s a quick guide to genetics and sleep, and what you can do to get the best rest possible, no matter what your genes have to say about it.
Your Internal Clock
Your body has an internal clock that regulates your hormones throughout the day. It is this “biological clock” that regulates your circadian rhythmwhich tells your body when sleep is necessary or not.
And like all things within your body, your genes play a major role in how that internal clock works. If it’s not well-timed with your lifestyle, it may release the hormones for sleep too early or too late, resulting in a constant tiredness or the inability to fall asleep. By not being aligned with your circadian rhythm, you will miss out on the deep sleep that you need every night in order to feel refreshed and energetic the following day.
Reset Your Internal Clock
If you choose to live a lifestyle that disagrees with your internal clock, then you can probably expect to feel tired most of the time. There are, however, things you can do to try to “reset” the clock so you can get a better night’s sleep.
The main thing to do is get sunlight whenever you can. Your internal clock responds well to sunlight and if you make sure to get an hour or so every day, you may find that sleep comes easier to you at night, or that you wake up a lot easier in the morning.
Other Things You Can Do
You can also alter some of your daily habits to help you fall asleep at night.
One of the best things you can do for your health overall is to get plenty of exercise and eat right. A good combination of an increased heart rate from a workout and eating healthy fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat proteins will benefit you in all aspects of your life, including your sleeping habits.
Also, find a set sleeping schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning (learn more here) and your internal clock may just take the hint and reset to fit your habits.
Your sleeping habits are affected by a lot of things, including genetics. Experiment for a few weeks to find the right combination that helps you get the best sleep.