Have you ever considered yourself to be a night owl? Someone who stays up late being productive, and wants to sleep in late. Well, new research is suggesting that some of these night owls are actually be on a sleep schedule similar to someone who would live on Mars aka a Martian. As a Martian would have a 24 hour, 39 minute day. People with the altered sleep gene run on a schedule where a day lasts 24 and ½ hours rather than the normal 24 hours that the rest of us are used to.

The Owl Gene that Will Turn you into a Sleep MartianThis extra half an hour means that their bodies will always feel jet lagged, according to the researchers at the Rockefeller University. Not working on the same number of hours that Earth gives them, means that people will constantly feel like they are trying to catch up – for their entire lives!

The gene itself is rare, with as little as 1.2% of the world’s population being a carrier if either one or two copies of it. So even if you consider yourself to be a night owl, that doesn’t automatically confirm that you have the gene so it might be another reason that you stay up late.

For those who have the gene, called CRY1, the altered perception of time means that your body’s internal clock isn’t working correctly. At night time, when others are going to bed, you’ll find yourself still wide awake as if it’s still the middle of the day. The same principle applies in the morning, when you wake up at the same time as others you will find yourself unprepared to face the day. It just won’t feel right, incredibly similar to jet lag.

Of course, not all people who have the CRY1 gene will identify as night owls, as many will try to maintain as normal sleep schedule as possible in order to stick to a ‘normal’ work schedule. Here, people will feel like they are suffering from a fragmented sleep. You might go to bed at like 10pm yet you’ll only get 2 or 3 hours of sleep over the night, so you’ll need naps to catch up, otherwise you’ll feel utterly exhausted.

Yet it’s not just your sleep that the CRY1 gene affects. Your internal body clock, also known as circadian rhythm, can actually effect other parts of your body. This includes disrupting your body’s body temperature, which can even cause diseases. So it can be worrying if you do carry the gene.

However, all is not lost, NASA is actually keen to meet with individuals who carry the gene as their 24.5 hour day schedule might make them perfect candidates for any future trips to Mars as these people would be far less likely to suffer the jet lag. For those who don’t want such an extreme job, the effects of the gene can be helped by adopting a strict sleep schedule at night.

If you are finding difficulty in sleeping at night, it’s unlikely that you do have the CRY1 gene as it’s so rare. You should first look into other areas that might be affecting your sleep schedule. The most common reason for this is an unsuitable mattress, that’s not providing you with the support you need at night.

If you are looking for a new mattress, here are some of our favourites:

Pillow Top - Hypnos Stratus Pillow Top mattress

Orthopaedic - Sealy Riva Ortho Pocket 1400 mattress

Memory Foam Hybrid - Relyon Pocket Memory Classic mattress

Latex - Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign mattress

Image courtesy of hyena reality at FreeDigitalPhotos.net