Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder: New Study Suggests That Night Owls May Be Linked With Gene Mutation

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Apr 10, 2017 07:24 AM EDT

People with delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) have their internal clock genetically programmed to function slowly. They stay awake late at night and hardly get up in the morning because there is a mutation in their gene called CRY1.

CRY1 changes the human circadian clock, which commands rhythmic habits such as sleep/wake cycles. According to the new study published in Cell, carriers of the gene sleep 2 to 2.5 hours late at night than non-carrier individuals.

As per clinical studies, DSPD affects up to 10 percent of the society. Night owls or evening people are many times diagnosed with this kind of sleep disorder.

According to Science Daily, the new research is the first to include a gene mutation in the progress of DSPD. People having this condition often experience a difficult time in falling asleep at night. They also struggle in complying with early work schedules due to difficulty in waking up in the morning.

"It's as if these people have perpetual jet lag, moving eastward every day. In the morning, they're not ready for the next day to arrive," Michael Young, a research associate said.

Alina Patke who is a co-author of the study is a night owl, but she doesn’t have the CRY1 variant. This is because not all people with DSPD have a gene mutation.

In the research, Patke and Young studied the skin cells of people with DSPD and they found a mutation in CRY1 that helps in initiating the circadian clock. They also found the gene mutation in one out of 75 of non-Finnish, European ancestry in a gene database search.

The circadian clock is an essential factor of human life and animals on Erath. "It's basically the same clock from flies to humans," Young, who studied the circadian clock of the fruit fly said. Unfortunately, DSPD and other sleep disorders are reportedly linked to anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

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