Up all night? Night owls may share genetic mutation

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Some people, no matter what they do, simply cannot fall asleep until the wee hours…These night owls may have a common form of insomnia called delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD)…Now researchers at the Rockefeller University and their colleagues have uncovered a genetic mutation that may explain why this condition sometimes runs in families…

The woman lived under observation for 18 days in a room with no clocks or windows. Not only did she produce the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin five to seven hours later than a typical person in similar previous studies, but her sleep was also oddly fragmented, sometimes coming in short naps. When the team analyzed her DNA, they found a mutation in a gene called Cry1 that also showed up in her family members who reported sleep problems…

Daniel Kripke, a psychiatrist who has studied sleep and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego…points out that studies that scan large groups of people for links between a particular trait and a genetic variant have found no connection between this mutation and DSPD. Still, he says, the new paper presents convincing evidence that it could be behind some cases of the disorder.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Night Owl? Scientists Identify a Gene That May Be Keeping People Up at Night