by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  August 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM Health In Focus
Sleep Habits and How They Impact Your Health
It's not just the lack of sleep, but your sleep patterns and routines too, influence and determine your health. If you're a night owl, and tend to get your rest during the day, you may be more prone to an increasing waistline, decreased fertility and an elevated risk of cancer. Losing out on sleep during the night could also make you more likely to demonstrate dark personality traits such as deceitfulness and narcissism.

You've heard enough about the importance of a good night's sleep to your health. A day without the forty winks and you'll be low on energy, grumbly, lethargic and probably tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods. A month like this, and your social life will go down as well. Losing out on the much needed sleep has also been associated with some major lifestyle diseases too.

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from Liverpool and Sydney revealed the link between dark personalities and erratic sleeping habits. The researchers took in over 200 people and interviewed them about their sleeping patterns. Careful observation revealed that night owls tended to be more selfish and were more likely to steal sexual partners from others.

"Everything in the body - every reaction, hormone, gene switching on and off - is governed by the internal clock," Dr Tim Quinnell, Sleep Laboratory at Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, explained. "And it's this clock that makes early types wake when they do, and late types able to carry on into the night."

The researchers have also discovered how an individual's sleep patterns are affected by a gene-known as Period-3.

According to the study, there exist two different forms of the gene-a long version and a short version. Individuals having the shorter version of the gene are night owls, while those having the longer version tend to be larks

"The larks have a sleep pressure that builds up much more quickly. So as they go through a normal day, they get more tired more quickly," Dr Simon Archer, University of Surrey, explained.

Owls, on the other hand, tend to gobble up breakfast within half an hour of waking up, but also tend to overeat during the evening, making them more prone to overeating and weight gain. Also, they tend to be more sleep deprived than the larks, as they cant compromise with their work schedules.

A study also linked how the blood glucose levels of 'owls' were bordering on diabetic and their hormone leptin levels were down by 17 percent.

A few other studies demonstrated how late sleepers were at a greater risk of suffering from certain cancers, particularly cancer of the breast and colorectal cancer, and may have higher levels of stress hormone.

Furthermore, late night sleepers are more likely to snore, have poorer memory and suffer from more pain and inflammation than those sleeping early.

And yet, owls have a much better and livelier love life than larks. Scientists speculate that this may have something to do with the testosterone levels in men, which is linked to the sleep-wake cycle.

But wait... don't make any major changes yet. Scientists claim that though sleep patterns are largely dependant on our genes, it alters slowly with age. We become more lark-like as we grow older.

Source: Medindia

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