Genetics finds that some people grow up early and have a good awakening, which can also generate greater well-being and reduce the risk of suffering from schizophrenia and depression, according to a study published today by the journal Nature.
The research, led by the University of Exeter (United Republic of) and the General Hospital of Massachusetts (USA), sheds light on the functioning of our biological clock from the genetic analysis of extensive databases.
Experts came to link quality early morning with mental health and some diseases, which do not appear, need, diabetes or obesity, as it was believed to date.
The study highlights the role of the retina of the eye in helping the time for control of the organism, and also increases the number of genome areas that affect whether someone is early or not from 24 to 351.
"This work exhibits a number of genes that can be studied in more detail to understand how different people can have different biological clocks," says Mike Vedn of the Exeter Medical School in a statement.
A number of individuals involved in this research, he says, "gave us the clearest evidence yet obtained," that "night owls are more likely to suffer from mental illness".
In total, they analyzed the genomes of 250,000 people in the US database. and 450,000 out of the one in the United Kingdom, who were also asked if they considered themselves "morning" or "nocturnal" people.
They then tried to identify which genes they had in common and how they could affect their sleep patterns while confronting that information with data from another 85,000 people from Biobank who were equipped with a bracelet activity in order to remove the possible subjectivity of respondents.
They noted that the identified genetic variants can change up to 25 minutes from the hour in which one person wakes up naturally, when passing, for example, from 8:00 am to 8:25 am.
Identified genomic regions include those that affect the hours of our body, known as the "circadian rhythms", which also reveal the presence of genes expressed in the brain and the retinal eye tissue.
The cycle of the biological clock, they say, is slightly longer than a 24-hour diary and, therefore, the connections of the ocular tissues explain how the brain detects light to "reset" that watch every day and synchronize it with the daily cycle.
The functioning of our biological clock, they add, is influenced by genes and our lifestyle, such as diet, exposure to artificial light and our jobs and activities.
The Nobel Prize in Medicine recalls, in 2017, three US scientists have been prominent in the discovery of molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm, an "internal biological clock" that plants, animals, and humans adapt to the rotations of the Earth.
"Our work suggests that, in part, the reasons why some people are early risers and other nights are due to the differences between the way our brains react to external light signals and the normal functioning of our watches, prisoners," said Samuel E. Jones from the University of Exeter.
These "small differences," he concludes, could have "significant effects" on the ability of our biological clocks "to control time efficiently," which "can alter the risks associated with diseases and mental disorders."