What Time Will Your Genes Wake You Up?

 

Do you jump out of bed first thing in the morning or are you more likely to come into bloom late in the night? Your answer, it turns out, will actually have a lot to do with your genetics. And this can have a big impact on your day-to-day productivity.

Researchers from The University of Leicester have completed a study which is adding weight to the increasingly popular attitude that the daily '9 to 5' may not be the most productive or efficient structure of working for all of us.

The study, published in Frontiers in Neurology, explains that the researchers have discovered nearly 80 genes associated with ‘morningness’ or ‘lateness’. The results are based on their analysis of fruit flies, who surprisingly have a very similar ‘genetic clock’ to us.

The research was focused on the timing of the fruit flies emerging from their pupal case, an event that is regulated by their natural internal clock (circadian clock). While most flies emerged during dawn (‘larks’), there were some rogue flies emerging later on (‘owls’). When they compared the genes of both sets of flies, it became apparent that there were nearly 80 genes that were expressing differently to trigger this behaviour.

What does this means for us humans? Well for those of us that are the ‘owls’, it indicates that trying to work the 9 to 5 schedule is going against our natural internal clock. Where possible, ‘owls’ should ideally be working later in the day, or at least prioritising important tasks to when their bodies are most naturally awake.

While the luxury of chosing our working hours might currently be limited to the few, as research in this field changes attitudes and advances in technology supports more work flexibility; it's likely there will be an increase in 'owls' working to a schedule that is more natural and productive for 'owls', and the businesses they work in.

 

We've used Petra Dr's photograph for this blog post, see more at Petra DR.

 

 

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