How Genetics Affect Sleep

How Genetics Affect Sleep – and What You Can Do About It

Have you ever wondered why you’re the type of person who stays up late, tossing and turning. And why does your partner seem to nod off at the drop of a hat?  This all happens even when you both share the same memory mattresses. The answer could be in your genes. Dr. David Samson, a PHD researcher at Duke, has been studying the sleep patterns of our ancestors. He thinks that much of our sleep cycle is determined by our genetics. Those genetics go back to neolithic times. (This is well before memory mattresses existed. Lucky for us Nectar makes a great one now.) It’s something that Samson sees as vital in understanding our sleep preferences. “Forty to 72 percent of the variability we see in chronotype” — each individual’s internal clock, which determines sleep behavior based on circadian rhythms — “is explained by genetics,” Dr. Samson said in a recent interview. “The rest is variable by environment, culture, social factors, and now technological factors.”

Difficulty Sleeping: Sentinel Sleepers

Samson believes that one reason we might suffer from insomnia is because certain members of a group or tribe would stay up late in case of animal attack. It was more beneficial to the group if one or two members were able to stay up late so that no one was caught by surprise in the case of an attack. These people, dubbed ‘Sentinel Sleepers’ were seen as incredibly valuable to the group, and were the protectors of the sleeping.

Teenagers Staying Up Late

We all know that teenagers tend to stay up too late, but eyesight could actually be the reason why. Eyesight is best when you are a teen, so often times those teens would be the ones able to be most vigilant at night, when the light is low and predators are crawling about. Teenagers often work late night service jobs, but get to collapse on a comfortable memory mattress when they get home. Not a bad tradeoff to make in the couple thousand years of technological progress.

Sleep Led To The Birth of Creativity

Samson has some wild ideas about why humans sleep the least amount of any primates, but also the deepest. He believes that this short, compact time of supreme rest (even before memory mattresses existed) allowed humans to focus on creative endeavors, allowing us greater flexibility and fostering innovative thought. The same innovative thought that would one day lead to Nectar creating amazing memory mattresses. So that’s the good news, while our ancestors were forced to stay up late to avoid bear attacks, sleep on rocks, and have generally bad sleeping practices in general, we don’t have to live that way. Thanks to Nectar we can get great memory mattresses without ever having to leave the comfort of our homes (or cave). Nectar is built on the densest yet most breathable base layer of any mattress. That’s something that even a caveman could understand.  Try a Nectar and see for yourself why these memory mattresses are worth raving about.

Dr. David Samson has concluded that our genetics in fact does play an active role in our sleeping habits. These genetics go all the way back to the Neolithic times. It affects our internal clock and sometimes even leads to Insomnia. To know more about how our ancestors affect the way we sleep, visit Nectarsleep.