Category Archives: Circadian Rhythms

Nobel Prize 2017 Awarded to Body Clock Researchers

November 23, 2017
Validation ... at last. This year's Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to three American chronobiologists for their research on the gene that regulates the internal biological clock. I'm thrilled this prestigious award will bring attention to how the human internal clock controls our circadian rhythms and therefore our sleep, and how many sleep disorders are caused by genetic variants and are therefore intractable. Drs. Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young isolated the period…

Using 23&Me and Promethease To Understand Health Risks

September 22, 2017
Since I was in my early twenties, I've suspected that my sleep disorders were genetic - inherited from my father's side of the family. Ten years ago, my suspicions were confirmed when UCSF Laboratories of Neurogenetics found "very interesting findings" regarding the 'night owl gene' in my genome. In the past year, I've learned more about my genes through 23&Me, a direct-to-consumer genetic test, and Promethease, a personal DNA health report service. 23&Me provides information on…

First Gene Variant for Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder Discovered!

August 3, 2017
Last month, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder sufferers rejoiced as scientists announced the discovery of a mutation in the circadian gene, CRY1. This mutation slows the circadian clock, which controls behavior such as sleep/wake cycles. People with the “night owl” variant of CRY1 have a longer circadian cycle than most, causing them to stay awake later and have trouble getting up in the morning. The finding by The Rockefeller University substantiates what DSPD sufferers have long believed - that night owl tendencies are hardwired into one's genes.…

PER3 Gene Variant and Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder

July 7, 2017
There have been numerous genetic studies for sleep disorders in humans, mammals and fruit flies (Drosophilia). Variants in the genes CLOCK, BMAL, OPN4, NFIL3, RORC, BHLHE40, ASMT, CRY1, CRY2 and PER3 can cause circadian rhythm malfunctioning. A study from 2003 found that a variant of the PER3 gene is associated with Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. The length of the PER3 gene allele correlates with a person's tendency for morningness or eveningness - "the shorter allele was strongly associated with the delayed sleep phase syndrome patients,…

Circadian Rhythms, 101

June 13, 2017
Recently, there has been no shortage of news about circadian rhythms and sleep. Clearly, interest is growing in this topic - last Sunday's New York Times article entitled 'Yes, Your Sleep Schedule Is Making You Sick' was one of the most emailed articles for the week. Before I dive into the latest research – which holds hope for Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome sufferers – a quick primer on circadian rhythms is in order. A circadian rhythm is any bodily process that displays an…

What Is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome?

January 15, 2017
Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) is a condition in which the body’s internal clock is delayed several hours behind what is considered normal. DSPS-ers can sleep normally and follow a consistent sleep schedule – just at a later time (such as 4 am to 11 am). As a circadian rhythm disorder (CRD), DSPS affects other daily rhythms such as those for body temperature, appetite, heart rate and blood pressure. DSPS is genetic; studies have linked it…