Changing Your Body Clock

Are you an incorrigible night owl, walking like a zombie through the morning? Or are you an incurable morning person, in bed before midnight? The good news is that it isn’t really your fault—rather, it’s your gene’s fault. The bad news is that you can’t really change.

In a study published in Chronobiology, scientists subjected ninety-five volunteers to a questionnaire in order to determine their chronotype; that is, their preference for early or late hours. Once they established this, the scientists took cell samples from each of the volunteers and examined the cells under a microscope. They found that their volunteers with late chronotypes (i.e., night owls) had genetic activity going on that contribute to sleeping later, suggesting that late chronotypes aren’t making a choice, but are subject to the code written into their genes.

So, if you’re a night owl, what can you do? If you aren’t pursing a career that allows you to set your own hours, try camping: it’s tough to sleep in with the sun in your eyes, a rock in your back, and a bear digging through your tent.


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