What’s the connection?
Scientists say some people’s genes increase their stress-reactivity. And that increased stress response increases the likelihood of poor sleep and developing insomnia.
Ironically, poor sleep can interrupt the normal function of your genes, leaving many stuck in a sleep-deprived vicious circle.
Insufficient sleep can disrupt normal gene activity, noted Terry Cralle, certified clinical sleep educator, consultant for the American Sleep Apnea Association and director of Business Development for the Woodlands Sleep Evaluation Center in The Woodlands, Texas.
“Genes are involved with how much sleep you need, and it is estimated that there could be six or more different types of insomnia linked to genes,” she said.
Just one week of mild sleep deprivation affects the function of 711 different genes.
“Recent research has found that sleeping during the day may disrupt approximately one-third of your genes,” Cralle said.
That disruption can throw off your circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that that tells your body when to sleep, and other bodily functions including metabolism, inflammation, stress and immune response. “Genes carry the instructions for making proteins in the body. These proteins make up the chemical signals and hormones that regulate the body and many processes like sleep,” Cralle noted.