The Genetics of Sleep: How Your Genes Can Affect Your Sleep Quality
If achieving restful sleep is a nightly struggle for you, it may have nothing to do with your diet or the amount of TV you watch before bed (though these factors can certainly play a role). Some women simply are genetically programmed to sleep poorly.
The public knowledge that chronic sleep deprivation can cause changes in genes and result in issues such as obesity has been circulating for some time now. In the last few years, though, more attention has been directed to the link between sleep deprivation and genetics and has shown that a person’s genes can actually contribute to sleep conditions such as light sleeping, sleep apnea, and insomnia.
In 2012, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology published the results of a study that spanned three decades and found that genetics play a large role in determining how much sleep we receive each night and how well we tolerate a lack of sleep.
While certain genetic mutations can cause individuals to need significantly less sleep than the average person without experiencing any symptoms of sleep deprivation, other genes contribute to greater difficulty falling asleep and a tendency to sleep lightly. If you frequently experience frustration or feelings of inadequacy over your poor quality of sleep, keep in mind that your lack of sleep may be caused or exacerbated by genes, and simply going to bed earlier may not remedy the issue.
There are some genes associated with sleep that can be mollified through healthy daily habits. For example, you have no doubt noticed that when you go to bed hungry, you have a harder time falling asleep. This is not due to your stomach grumbling, but is actually a result of the gene transin, which integrates your sleep and metabolism, keeping you awake because you have not eaten enough that day.
If you suffer from sleep deprivation caused by genetics, this doesn’t mean you need to resign yourself to a lifetime of fitful sleep and exhaustion. There are many methods you can try to beat insomnia and sleep like an angel. A few techniques you can try right now are making sure you eat enough during the day, turning off all screens and bright lights a full hour before bedtime, refraining from texting or using social media from your bed, sleeping in a cool room, and setting your alarm for the same time every day regardless of how much sleep you get.
In addition to practicing these habits, you would do well to seek professional counsel on how best to improve your sleep cycle. I invite you to visit Sage Nutrition and Healing Center, where you and I will discuss natural ways for women to improve sleep, and I will help you develop a customized plan to increase the duration and quality of your sleep. Possible remedies to consider include nutrition, dietary, and lifestyle support, and gemstone and Reiki to help you relax your mind and body before bed. Call 303.503.5969 today to schedule your initial consultation.