This Might Be Why You Can’t Sleep In
Finally, an answer in a new study.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:50 AM
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It’s Saturday morning. You have no plans, so you didn’t set an alarm. You wake up feeling well rested and satisfied with your sleep—and then you look at your phone only to discover it’s 6:30 a.m. Sound familiar?
Well, it’s officially not your fault that you’re annoyingly chipper in the wee hours. It’s probably in your genes. According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, one in 300 people are best suited for an early-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep schedule. Why? Their genes make it easy for them to fall asleep at 8 p.m. and wake up at 4 a.m.
Admittedly, this mode of sleeping is pretty rare. When most prime-time shows don’t start till 9 p.m. and you don’t leave work till nearly 7 p.m., it’s hard to imagine hitting the hay at 8 p.m. However, you can make up for those lost hours with an expanse of time in the morning, one that comes with hardly any distractions (like your buzzing group chat or your neighbor’s loud band practice). If you find yourself getting sleepy anytime you have plans late at night, making this kind of change might just be easier for you in the long run. In fact, the study found that “these extreme early birds tend to function well in the daytime, but may have trouble staying awake for social commitments in the evening.”
“The analogy I’ve always used is that it’s sort of like swimming in a river,” Dr. W. Chris Winter explains. “You can stay in one spot, but it takes a lot of effort. The natural tendency is to relax and let the river take you downstream; but if that’s not what you want, you can certainly fight it. That’s the way it is for a morning person: You can create a situation where you’re not what you’re genetically predetermined to be, but it takes effort.” You’re not rude if you tap out of an event early. It’s linked to a genetic trait!
Want to test out if you’re one in 300 who need an early bedtime? These products will help.