Ever wondered how some people run multi-million dollar companies along with a gazillion other philanthropic work? Read on to understand more about entrepreneurship potential and the debate about its source of origin.
From selling cupcakes to running a multi-million dollar biggie, entrepreneurs form a diverse spectrum.
Any business idea, transformed into a business model to serve customers/clients fall under entrepreneurship.
But most of them, who run big or small successful businesses have some highly similar qualities.
It takes more than just an idea to be a successful entrepreneur.
The first "light bulb" moment is only a start to a snowball of those to follow. Initially, setting up an idea means having to act as five different roles in one.
Granted we have a lot of resources online, but to gather the motivation and humility to be able to understand and learn new things and then adapt that into your idea of a business model, takes quite some time.
So, first and foremost, patience is key.
And most definitely, you would have to disable ‘autoplay’ on youtube, too bad Netflix doesn't let you do that!
Understanding a market gap and tapping into that potential is extremely important with new ideas.
Your cupcakes might taste out of the world delicious, but what is the customers’ incentive to buy them, if they can find great cupcakes (tried and tested) from Costco?
What if you add a factor of customization, say you provide the customers icing essentials to make it their own?
That might make it interesting.
Understanding what the customers need and delivering, is one of the most crucial components of entrepreneurship.
When American computer scientist, Paul Graham was asked what are the most important things to remember to become a successful entrepreneur, he said, surrounding yourself with good, efficient people, finding the best market-product fit and spending as little money as possible.
These frame a 3-step activation for your success account. If either of them fails to happen, it could be significantly hard to create a successful empire.
A successful entrepreneur in one of his books talks about how running a startup is like juggling.
It creates an illusion that you’re balancing three balls mid-air but in reality, a juggler focuses on one ball to balance the rest.
This is how entrepreneurs deal with multitasking.
By prioritizing the right task at the right time. It is crucial to identify the most important problem and solve that first.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”Stephen R. Covey
It’s all about smart working
Hard Work is not the only key to success. Many entrepreneurs have seen success in hiring people who do smart work.
"Hire a lazy person to do a difficult job they will find an easy way to do it"Bill Gates
Entrepreneurs have to be constantly driven to work towards success.
All successful entrepreneurs have their dull days and depressing mornings.
They too get distracted with the sweet smell of freshly sprinkled earth or a fresh batch of cookies.
It’s about how they bring their attention back to work, which is admirable.
A famous tech expert, Aytekin Tank says finding this grit, to keep up with a goal for a lifetime comes from endless motivation and learning to overcome resistance.
Coming up with routines that get our body and mind prepped to do a task could make a significant difference.
Love is not the only kinda north star we need.
Having a life vision and mission for a company helps with clear growth and better focus towards the end goal.
In this ever-changing world, be it Twitter or LinkedIn there is a 200-300 character limit to say what you have in mind.
It’s highly crucial to stay focused and walk towards your north star.
It’s common to see entrepreneurs sound profound and knowledgeable.
But the successful ones are almost always curious to understand more.
This constant need to understand and reinvent helps with rapid growth as the approach would be customer-centric instead of it being driven by trends based on market competition.
Despite the common assumption that reading about entrepreneurship doesn't help you become one, it is important to read and understand experiences to avoid common mistakes and be exposed to different business models.
Of course, we are no Bill Gates who can read about 750 words per minute and follow that with a 90% retention rate but we sure can try!
It’s not uncommon to see nepotism in the Business world.
Even The President of the United States, Donald Trump took over his father’s company, and now, his sons run the Trump empire.
There are endless debates on how businesses run successfully for generations.
Though arguably, it’s a matter of convenience to pass on power to our kin, studies suggest that genetics could contribute a fair share to why they run successfully.
Here’s some complex math for you:
Behavior patterns = Complex
Genetics = Complex
Behavioral Genetics = ? (haha, complex math)
Behavioral Genetics is barely black and white.
It’s hard to figure out what shade of grey we are looking at (we might need Christian’s help on that one!).
Since behavior entails what you are and what you see, it involves a great deal of both environmental factors and multiple genes that contribute to one trait of ours.
In the recent past, there has been emerging research conducted on such grey areas of behavioral science.
Thanks to all the mass observations about business tycoons, entrepreneurship has been one such potential studied.
Most genetic research, to resolve debates of behavior, always conducts studies on twins.
Their high similarity in genetic makeup leads to more conclusive results than in general human studies.
Studies have shown that 30 to 35% of the entrepreneurial traits could be attributed to heritability.
Though this implies that environmental factors contribute to the rest of the major 70%, 1/3rd of the fraction is a significant number to make or break, in this fast-paced world.
Nonetheless, having a genetic predisposition only increases the likelihood of becoming a successful entrepreneur, but that has to coincide with various other environmental factors and maybe a few tik-tok videos to make it big in this world.
As organizational behavior is a higher-order function, genes that are related to it often are responsible for very brainy activities.
Brain activities control the release of different brain chemicals like neurotransmitters and these activities are controlled by different genes responsible for their action.
For example, Serotonin levels can contribute to the attitude of ‘taking chances’.
This would help you be less risk-averse which is beneficial for an entrepreneur.
As we are all humans and the genetic outline is pretty much the same, we often find different variations of one particular gene.
These range from the tiniest of a change at a nucleotide level (the fundamental unit of the DNA structure) called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) to big structural variations where chunks of the DNA are cut out, duplicated, etc.
These are often causes of genetic diseases.
But SNPs are the most common type of variation known to human beings.
The outcome of the variations depends on the extent of its influence in the gene.
The functions of the gene could be altered, like structuring a protein or if it is a regulatory gene, it might affect that function.
Some of these variations could make us susceptible to different traits.
This applies in case of behavioral traits too.
Now, these different variations make us susceptible to traits that are common in successful entrepreneurs, it increases our likelihood of becoming one, too.
The likelihood increase would take place only with the possession of the uncommon variation, often referred to as the minor allele.
A major study conducted to understand the genetic influences in self-employment discovered SNPs in the gene RNF144B, indicating an increased probability of being self-employed.
The minor allele T, of an SNP in this gene, has an association with an increased probability of being self-employed.
|TT Genotype||Increased probability of being self-employed|
|CC Genotype||Normal entrepreneurship skills|
The SNPs of the SV2C gene was also part of the study with two different variations. RNF144B is a gene that codes for a structural protein.
SV2C on the other hand codes for brain transport proteins called synaptic vesicles. So the range of the involvement of these genes is extremely varied.
|AA Genotype||Increased probability of being self-employed|
|GG Genotype||Normal entrepreneurship skills|
Several other genes also have an association with entrepreneurship potential.
To quote an example from Scott Shane’s best-seller:
Born Entrepreneurs, Born Leaders: How Your Genes Affect Your Work Life
Some people might have a version of a gene that increases their odds of making large financial bets, but the influence of this gene on risk-taking might only be manifest in high-pressure, short-time-to-make-a-decision situations, such as currency trading operations.
Thus, the gene might not influence managers’ decisions to gamble billions of dollars on new technologies after months of careful evaluation, but it might affect traders’ choices to bet billions of dollars on currencies in a few seconds on foreign exchange markets.
This also helps us understand how there are no binaries with these behavioral traits.
However, the genetic predisposition only increases the likelihood of your entrepreneurship potential.
If the person who is good with big financial bets never explores a career in a Wall street set-up, he would never discover his potential.
The rest of the environmental factors HAVE to coincide to create a successful entrepreneur.
This could be as fundamental as having the means to source capital for the implementation of the business idea.
Entrepreneurship potential still has many unknowns we are yet to explore.
But we have to understand and acknowledge that various factors are contributing to an entrepreneur’s success.
Be it genetic or environmental, it is a life-long journey of being best at what you do.
Being successful in any field takes some serious perseverance and commitment.
So, regardless of the origin of our instincts, let’s try to be good at what we do!
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Imagine being told when you were a child that you’ll lapse in and out of a comatose state accompanied by hallucinations for the rest of your life that will take approximately 30 years from you. What would your reaction be? Would you be shocked, or would you give a knowing smile? After all, it’s characteristic of sleep, isn’t it?
Sleep is such a puzzling behavior that provides a constellation of benefits for our well-being, coming back for us every 24 hours.
Without exception, sleep occurs incessantly all across the animal kingdom.
Even bacteria are known to have active and passive states that correspond to the light and dark phases of our planet.
Major discoveries over the last couple of decades proved that sleep comes with a host of health benefits.
It gives an opportunity to reset our body, disguised as a complex amalgam of physiological and behavioral processes.
Therefore, the saying ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ is inappropriate and more than unfortunate.
Sleep has quite a magnificent cyclical architecture.
The two main stages dominating sleep, NREM and REM, occur in a recurring fashion every 90 minutes.
These two states are as different from each other as each is from wakefulness.
Pronounced as non-REM, the normal onset of sleep occurs in adults through this stage.
A quick definition of NREM is ‘a relatively inactive, yet an actively regulating brain’.
There four stages (1-4) classified under NREM. The 1, 2, 3, and 4 stages roughly indicate the depth of the sleep.
Waking a person who’s entered stage 1 is way easier than waking those in stage 4 (trust me, you don’t want to wake someone when they’re in stage 4!).
Stage 1: A wake-to-sleep transition period where the person falling asleep can be easily woken up by softly calling their name.
Stage 2: A characteristic of this stage is specific bursts of electrical activity called sleep spindles. This help in the transfer of information from the short term to long term memory. A more intense stimulus can wake the person in this stage.
Stage 3: Progressing further, slow-wave activity marks stage 3, a period of deep sleep. The body begins its restorative process and sleep slowly transitions into stage 4
Stage 4: Called ‘the deepest stage’, the body’s reset process occurs now in full-swing - the rebuilding of cells, high frequency of protein synthesis, reset of the immune system among other benefits.
Sleep then slowly ascends to the lighter stages of NREM (stages 1 and 2) which then transitions to REM.
Marked by a highly active, chaotic, and random brain in a paralyzed body is the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.
Although not strictly classified into stages, REM is occasionally divided into two - the phase of bursts of eye movements, followed by the phase of relative quiescence.
The mental activity in this stage is usually associated with dreaming. People when woken up during REM, typically recall a vivid dream.
During REM, the information learned during the day is typically bounced around information boxes to relate this new piece to the existing ones.
Therefore, this stage is playfully called ‘a google search gone wrong’.
A series of studies conducted that led many to an ethically uncomfortable place identified the importance of both NREM and REM sleep.
Rats deprived of REM died 40% sooner, by day 14, while rats deprived solely of NREM died in 45 days (60% longer).
We know that sleep is important to save information we learn that day. Sleeping after we learn something will help 'hit the save button' by transferring information from the short term to long term memory.
To make matters more interesting, a new finding has shown that sleeping before learning is also crucial as it preps the brain to soak up new information.
Some sleep scientists give the metaphor of a sponge - an already filled sponge can only take so much information before it is squeezed and then it’s ready to take in more.
Now that’s settled, let’s focus on a conjecture that’s been keeping scientists engaged in the past.
We learn stuff when we are sleeping. Now that would be cool, wouldn’t it?
Thanks to the relentless research, we now have an answer and it looks like it is both a yes and a no.
A big NO to learning a new language from scratch and it’s a YES to absorbing information and forming new memories.
Although these were implicit memories, it could alter the individual’s waking behavior.
For example, in a study conducted on sleeping individuals, researches played a sound and followed it with a rotten-fish smell.
When these individuals were tested on awakening, they held their breath once the sound was played, as if anticipating a rotten smell.
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Perhaps you’ve heard of this - The Guinness Book of World Records removed the category of sleep deprivation.
This is from the world’s authority on record-breaking achievements that still permits free-falling down towards earth from outer space in a spacesuit.
Know why? Because the effects of sleep deprivation are considered ‘extreme’ and ‘dangerous’.
So, what happens when you’re completely deprived of sleep? What goes wrong? Let’s take a look at some of the deadly consequences.
These are some of the effects that sleep restriction exerts on your body.
The most harmful of all is that the individual fails to see how sleep-deprived they are when they’re sleep-deprived, and they tend to underestimate their performance disability.
The consequence of sleep loss is so deadly, that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified night-shift working as a carcinogen.
Sleep is a universal component of life, and it is not surprising that recent research has shown that genetics plays a pivotal role in its regulation.
Substantial evidence suggests that sleep is a complex trait with a strong genetic component.
Restricting the amount of sleep we receive each night voluntarily or completely depriving a night’s sleep alters the expression of a number of genes radically.
This consequently tampers with daily health and the quality of life.
Several genes are involved in sleep regulation in humans. Some of the candidate sleep genes are CLOCK, PER2, PER3, DEC2, and GRIA3.
The appropriately named CLOCK gene, short for clock circadian regulator, was one of the first genes to be identified as a regulator of sleep.
This gene is a transcription activator that forms the central component of the 24-hour circadian clock. Variations in this gene cause behavioral sleep changes.
For example, one particular variation, from A to G, can affect the way CLOCK activates other genes (ARNTL, PER2, PER3) in the circadian regulatory complex and influence the onset of sleep.
This determines the chronotype of an individual. CLOCK gene variations have also been shown to influence the habitual duration - to be either a long sleeper (>8.5 hours) or a short sleeper (<7 hours).
|GG||Likely to have a higher sleep duration|
|AA||Likely to have a normal sleep duration|
Did you know that every living species on the planet with a lifespan of more than a few days has a 24-hour rhythm?
This ‘circadian rhythm’ helps you determine when you should be awake and when you should be sleeping.
Although everyone succumbs to its unyielding power, the pattern between individuals has striking differences.
There are the morning types, you know, the early birds and then there are the evening types, the night owls.
There is yet another less commonly known type, called the ‘afternoon types’ who don’t fit in with the other two categories.
These 'types' are called the chronotypes of an individual.
It defines whether they are most alert in the morning, during the day, or at night.
Larks: These are the morning types, who rise and shine early. They follow the principle ‘early to bed, early to rise’ strictly.
Nappers: These are the afternoon types, who wake up the sleepiest. They are most active between mid-morning and late evening, after which they’re tired again.
Owls: Favoring night time, the owls stay awake through most of the night and go to sleep well past midnight, and they don’t wake up earlier than 10 am.
The chronotype of an individual has a strong genetic component. If a person manages to sleep in synchrony with their chronotype, the night of sleep will be restful.
The repeating signal of day and night is communicated by a ‘vampire hormone’ called Melatonin.
This hormone makes the timing of sleep official.
After the sleep-onset, the levels of melatonin gradually decline through the night and well into the morning.
When the brain detects light in the morning, the release of melatonin is shut off, hinting at the end of the sleeping-process.
Right this moment, as you’re reading this line, there’s a chemical called adenosine that’s building up in your brain.
The longer you’re awake, the more concentrated their accumulation will be.
This is the chemical that’ll increase your desire to sleep at night.
Adenosine cleverly turns on the sleep-inducing regions of the brain and lowers the noise from the wake-promoting regions.
As you’re sleeping, the chemical is slowly cleared off. The total clearance of adenosine marks the onset of wakefulness.
Naps clear adenosine, therefore, many people who take naps are stay awake at night due to decreased sleep pressure.
These individuals can, therefore, take a nap early in the afternoon, to enable sufficient accumulation of adenosine again before bedtime.
For sleep-deprived individuals, naps can at least momentarily improve brain functionality.
Technology: Gadgets emit blue light that slashes melatonin by 50% and delays its further release by 3 hours. Additionally, it also reduces the duration of REM, a stage that is essential for emotional healing.
Alcohol: Alcohol is a sedative and it knocks out the cortex. Furthermore, it fragments sleep, causing many more awakenings throughout the night. These individuals don’t remember it and they wake up unrefreshed the next day and reach for caffeine.
Caffeine: It is a widely used psychoactive drug that not only delays the onset, but also reduces the amount of deep sleep. What’s scarier is, caffeine is particularly good at blocking REM. If this happens routinely, it increases the mortality rate by 60%.
Unfamiliar Location: We don’t get a restful night when in an unfamiliar location, right? This is because sleep happens in kind of a ‘lite’ version. One half of the brain doesn’t rest as well as the other, as we try to instinctively maintain vigilance in the new location from potential threats.
Of the 24 hours, humans have a recycling rate of 16 hours. That means, after every 16 hours, we need an indispensable 8 hours of shut-eye.
Sleep is, after all, what makes us fit to be awake. And so, why we fail to keep it up is a mystery.
Many physiological processes in the body have safety nets.
For example, when you’re feasting, the adipose cells store fat.
This is to use it in the unfortunate scenario of starvation.
Tragically, sleep has no such safety measures.
We are the only species on the planet that voluntarily pulls an ‘all-nighter’.
Many scientists confirm there is a global sleep epidemic underway.
This is a huge challenge to evolution.
Considering the harmful effects of deprivation - ‘the sickening health and the premature death’, it is time for our species to take a serious appreciation for sleep.
It is, ultimately, the kind nurse that nature has given us.
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Have you ever felt like taking a random, unplanned decision or an impulsive choice because you ‘felt like’ doing it?
Buying that dress or handbag just like that?
Making that travel booking because you felt like going on a holiday? Or quitting your well-paying job because you had a tiff with your boss?
Do you know people who take such impulsive decisions?
Some instances mentioned above are examples of impulsive decisions that people take.
It is not surprising that we find impulsive people in our day to day lives.
But, how do you define impulsivity?
If you or someone you know has a tendency to act without foresight or thought about the consequences of their actions, it is termed as impulsivity.
While some people are impulsive by nature, for many others, it is a sign of an underlying disorder.
Everyone expresses a certain amount of childish impulsivity occasionally, and this is acceptable in adults.
But, being too impulsive is not considered normal.
It is, however, very common in children as they take quick decisions without much thinking.
In the later years, this slowly gives way to maturity and self-control as they grow older.
Impulsive adults are also mighty risk-takers because many a time they don’t think through their decisions or actions and end up taking a huge risk.
Impulsivity is believed to occur due to the failure of the brain’s inhibitory function to work when making decisions.
This leads to the individual making a decision without thinking it through.
Many studies exploring the causes of such behavior has more than often lead the researchers along the path of genetics.
The HTR2A gene, also known as the 'impulsivity gene' is closely associated with the condition.
Individuals carrying a certain variant of the gene are predisposed to impulsivity.
In these individuals, the brain’s inhibitory control either slows or is lost and prevents the individual from making rational decisions.
An SNP analysis showed that there existed a combined phenotype within the 5-HT2a receptor gene or the HTR2A gene attributing to the condition.
The SNPs involved in impulsivity are rs63163 and rs6311. A study found that the T allele of rs6313 was protective in opioid and alcohol dependence studies, whereas, the A allele was associated with alcohol dependence and abuse.
Also, the G allele of the rs6311 had similar effects as the T allele of rs6313.
|GENE||RS Id||RISK ALLELE|
Impulsivity is a symptom of many behavioral disorders such as
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Impulsivity is one of the three primary symptoms of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
In fact, attention deficit and impulsivity are some of the characteristics of the DSM-IV criteria of ADHD.
There is evidence that links the trait with psychiatric patients who suffer from various other conditions.
A few psychological conditions implicated in impulsivity are mood disorders, borderline personality disorders, pathological gambling, and self-harming behavior.
There are several human studies that prove the link between impulsivity and alcohol abuse.
These studies show that alcohol abuse triggers impulsive behavior in an individual.
It is also not a surprise that impulsive individuals tend to lose self-control and end up in alcohol abuse.
It is not uncommon to make impulsive decisions when it comes to food.
Individuals with this trait are seen to be prone to conditions like emotional eating, frequent and intense food cravings, eating at night and addictions to certain types of foods.
However, there is a need for additional research to further correlate impulsivity with overeating.
We mentioned earlier that individuals of impulsive nature are risk-takers.
Many studies reveal that highly impulsive people take greater risks than those with less impulsive nature.
This also implies that highly impulsive adolescents are more likely to injure themselves and others.
There are two popular impulsivity questionnaires that enable individuals to self-evaluate whether or not they suffer from impulsivity.
These questionnaires are also useful to identify high-risk individuals.
The treatment is multifaceted and involves addressing various aspects of the condition.
However, proper education and psychiatric intervention, allows us to address the loss of control and impulsivity in individuals who suffer from more severe forms of the symptom.
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The MAO-A gene, popularly nicknamed the “warrior gene,” is responsible for the production of an enzyme monoamine oxidase A. (MAOA)
It breaks down monoamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin) through oxidation.
Thus, mutations in the MAO-A gene can directly affect the levels of these neurotransmitters, which can potentially lead to various behavior-associated disorders.
MAOA is an essential regulator of brain function and is highly expressed in the cells of the brain and heart. It mainly assists in the breakdown of neurotransmitters such as
Because MAOA regulates the level of these “behavioral-hormones,” too little or too much of this enzyme plays a role in a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD. In fact, a class of drugs that inhibit this enzyme (MAOA inhibitors) is prescribed to treat depression.
All of us have the MAO-A gene, but we have different versions (or types or variants) of them. There are two types of MAO-A genes: a high-activity (MAOA-H) and a low-activity (MAOA-L) type, based on the number of times the sequence of the gene is repeated. One of the most frequently studied variants is MAOA-4R, which has four repeats and is associated with a high-activity of the MAOA enzyme. Other alternate forms of the MAO-A variants, including the 2-repeat (2R) and 3-repeat (3R) versions.
The monoamine oxidase A deficiency follows an X-Linked inheritance pattern. Thus, this disorder is majorly seen affecting males.
Lower levels of this enzyme typically result in the buildup of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Various studies have linked this buildup with unusual behavioral patterns involving aggressive outbursts and abnormal sexual behavior. The deficiency of this enzyme has also been associated with abnormal brain development, which can directly lead to intellectual disabilities. There are also other variants of this gene that increase the enzyme levels.
Lower levels of the enzyme result in a slower breakdown of the neurotransmitters - (Worriers), and higher levels of the enzyme lead to a faster breakdown - (Warriors). Both decreased and increased levels of the enzyme have various implications.
A study on around 18,000 people with psychiatric issues identified an SNP rs1137070 associated with major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. People with the T allele had higher enzyme levels and, as a result, lower levels of the neurotransmitters.
Another study found that the G allele of rs6323 had the highest expression of the MAOA enzyme. “Subjects with major depressive disorder with the highest activity form of the enzyme (G or G/G)”
A study identified an SNP rs3027407 on the MAO gene associated with ADHD. This SNP affects dopamine-mediating action, which is related to the symptoms of ADHD in children. A allele was found in higher frequencies in people with ADHD.
T allele of rs909525 in the MAO gene is associated with less aggressive behavior due to the higher activity of MAOA - the warriors. The C allele is associated with more aggressive behavior.
A variation in the MAOA gene was associated with higher levels of anger expressed outwards. The A allele of rs2064070 was associated with increased expression of anger.
The study also found two other variants, rs909525 - C allele, rs6323 - G allele, associated with increased anger.
A study found that a poor quality diet during adolescence can affect the verbal ability of individuals who have a low expression variant of the MAO-A gene. People who ate vegetables very rarely and included more junk food in their diet had verbal deficits in early adulthood.
The “psychopathic” personality traits were also observed more in subjects who frequently consumed fast foods during their adolescence - this was seen only in people with a low expression variant of the MAO-A gene.
MAOA inhibitors (MAOA-I) are a class of drugs that lower the enzyme MAOA levels. Higher MAOA levels have been linked to conditions like depression.
When on MAOA-I, it is important to limit high-tyramine foods. Tyramine is an amino acid that helps regulate blood pressure. MAOA enzyme is required to break down tyramine, the buildup of which is associated with migraine headaches and life-threatening blood pressure spikes.
So if you are on MAOA-I, it is important that you reduce your tyramine consumption.
Some foods high in tyramine are:
If we can divide the world into two halves based on the time at which an individual is most alert and active, we would have two groups – the morning people and the night people.
A morning person is one who wakes up early in the morning without any difficulty, is alert, fresh and most active during the first half of the day.
They are also the most efficient and productive during this time of the day.
Most students who are morning people prefer to wake up early to study as they are able to learn and absorb more during this time.
A morning person is also called an early riser, a lark or an early bird.
If you feel active and completely energized when you wake up early in the morning, you are probably what people call an early lark.
But, if you press your alarm’s snooze button more often or feel too tired when you try to wake up early, you are definitely a night owl.
It has been found that people who are early risers are generally more hardworking, high achieving, have a more streamlined life, and are less likely to suffer from lifestyle conditions like stress and obesity.
However, if one is a night owl and wants to become a morning person, there are ways to do so.
The primary reason late risers are unable to wake up early in the morning is that they retire to their beds late at night and haven’t had enough sleep by the time it is 6 or 8 am the next morning!
So, the first thing one must do to become a morning person is to get enough sleep and do so consistently every day.
Once you have decided to change your body clock to become a morning person, don’t go all out and do it at once.
Begin slowly, one day at a time. Allow yourself to have that extra 15 minutes in bed past your alarm.
It takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Waking up early is a habit too! If you have decided to join the early larks, you must ensure you are consistently waking up early.
Once it becomes a habit, you won’t find it tedious at all.
No matter when your alarm rings, getting that extra few minutes(or hours) in bed is always tempting.
However, if you want to become an early riser, avoid pressing the snooze button.
Snoozing an alarm is also bad for your health, because when your alarm goes off in the first place, the sudden external sound will trigger your cardiovascular system and snoozing the alarm will only insult your heart over and over again.
This may also make you feel tired for most part of the day.
It is easier to sleep at night than in the morning.
Have you ever wondered why? Well, in the day time, there is a lot of light which prevents the formation of melatonin, a hormone responsible for making you sleep.
So, try to keep your window blinds or curtain open during the night so that the morning sun will wake you up automatically.
Most night owls stay up at night by drinking cups of coffee expecting it to keep them awake and alert throughout the night.
However, this really doesn’t work.
And the same thing applies to those who feel drinking coffee in the morning will help keep sleep away.
Instead, one must have a healthy breakfast, which includes nuts, fruits, and yogurt, provides instant energy and keeps the brain active.
Most people think it is too much to ask for –waking up early and then hitting the gym.
But, you will be surprised to know that hitting the gym early in the morning not only drives away your sleep but keeps you feeling energized, fresh, positive and productive throughout the day.
Night owl is a person who is awake during the late hours of the night, sometimes up till early hours of the morning.
Such individuals are most productive in the night and very active even when they go to sleep.
They have a habit of retiring to bed very late in the night and their sleep cycle is not like the early larks, who are early risers.
Night owls are best suited to jobs that require people to work in the night shifts.
Each person has his/her own body’s chronotype, a biological clock that dictates their body on when to sleep or when to wake up.
Based on this, there are two types of people– the early birds and the night owls.
Each person’s biological clock plays a significant role, but in today’s world, most of it is determined by one’s lifestyle.
But, which group is more healthy?
Based on research conducted in the USA, early risers had 12-27% lower risk of developing depression than regular people whereas night owls had a 6% higher risk of developing it.
Night owls also have an increased predisposition to developing hypertension and obesity as compared to their normal counterparts and the early risers.
So, it is better to be an early riser than a night owl in the long term.
All human beings have a hormone called melatonin that decides one’s body clock and sleep time.
During the day, when it is bright outside, the production of melatonin reduces and so we are most awake during mid-day and afternoons.
However, as the sun begins to set and it starts to get darker outside, our nerves perceive this and the production of melatonin increases, signaling our body that it needs to sleep.
A research was conducted to compare teenage brains with fully grown adult brains and the results explained why young brains do not work very early in the morning.
This happens because the teenage brains are about 2 hours behind the adult brains and tend to show most activity during the afternoon.
This has been sighted as one of the reasons that teenagers are night owls rather than early risers.
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Sleep deprivation in teenagers is increasingly becoming a concern among parents and school authorities.
Many blame this on the teenagers, calling them lazy.
But it isn’t really their fault. It is their biological clock.
Teenage brains work differently from babies and adults.
Their sleep patterns differ from these two groups.
Due to the biology of human development, the sleep mechanism in teenagers prevents their brains from naturally awakening before 8 am.
This conflicts with the school timings and therefore, students are often seen sleepy or groggy in their earlier classes.
Research attributes this to puberty.
When a mammal, including humans, hit puberty, their sleep timing gets delayed.
And due to this, the adolescent brain is unable to sleep before 10.45-11pm.
It is during this time that melatonin production increases in a teenage brain and continues until 8 am.
Since this is biological, teenagers can’t do much about it.
When they have to wake up for an early school day, they end up being sleep deprived.
If you are a morning lark, things seem way better for you than if you are a night owl.
Research suggests that night owls have a 10% risk of dying earlier than the early birds.
This has been attributed to the fact that due to their lifestyle and biological clock, the night owls tend to develop more health conditions:
One of the primary causes is sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is that irresistible urge or desire to go back to bed and get back that extra amount of sleep.
This phenomenon is mostly seen during abrupt awakenings, especially if one was in deep or slow-wave sleep when awakened.
Sleep inertia can also occur if reactivation of certain parts of the brain is slow after awakening.
The next common cause that makes it difficult to wake up in the morning is sleep deprivation.
It can occur as a result of sleeping disorders, sleep apnoea, delayed sleep-wake disorder, insomnia or due to unknown causes.
In all these cases, the brain hasn’t got its ideal share of sleep and therefore makes it difficult to wake up in the morning.
Each of us has our own biologic chronotype and sleep cycle.
But, our bodies adjust to change in timings, for example adjusting to a new time zone while traveling.
Other causes that can break your sleep cycle include – work, stress, poor health, hormones, etc.
A broken sleep cycle can affect your health and function adversely and it is imperative for you to fix it as soon as possible.
One can use the following methods to fix their broken sleep cycle:
Bright light reduces melatonin production(the hormone responsible to make you fall asleep) and dim light or darkness increases its production.
So, if you want to set your cycle back to normal, reduce or dim lights around your sleep time to help induce sleep.
Researchers have suggested that 16-hour fasting during traveling across time zones helps set the sleep cycle back on track.
So, if you want to reset your sleep cycle, have an early dinner and avoid any food until your next day’s breakfast.
Once your sleep cycle has been restored, you can stick to regular meal times and maintain a 12-hour gap between your dinner and breakfast.
Staying awake all night or all day, based on how you want to reset your sleep cycle, can help you get back on track.
For some people, a sudden change in their sleep time can be harmful. Such individuals must alter their sleep cycle little by little until it is completely back on track.
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According to research, night owls are smarter and more creative than the early larks.
Surprising, but true! Though people presume that night owls are lazy, they are actually more active than early risers during any given day.
Researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Miami described that this difference is due to the nocturnal environment.
It encourages the development of a non-conventional spirit and their ability to find unique, alternative and original solutions.
Most schools across the globe start early.
But, this actually has led to more teenagers and adolescents becoming sleep deprived.
The adolescent brain functions differently from that of a baby or an adult.
Their sleep cycle runs late– from about 10.45 pm till 8 am the next morning.
This occurs due to the melatonin production which is delayed due to puberty.
When teenagers sleep late in the night and have to wake up early for school, they end up losing out on sleep that their body needs and are often sleepy in class.
Schools must research and understand more about teenager sleep times and alter their timings to ensure all students get a minimum of 8-10 hours of sleep (as recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine)
There is no specific time that can be called as the ‘best time to study’.
It depends upon when an individual is most productive.
Kids are more productive and fresh in the morning after a good night’s sleep and nutritious breakfast.
They are able to learn new things or review older notes.
During the afternoon, their brain is able to make connections and make the information they have already learned more meaningful.
With each child being unique and having a unique learning style, they also have their own best time to study.
The most natural and ideal way to wake up feeling refreshed is by getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep.
However, in today’s world, most people end up with much lesser amounts of sleep.
Avoid drinking alcohol in the night before you sleep as alcohol hampers sleep quality and you end up waking up tired and fatigued.
Wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends!
Having a consistent and dependable sleep routine ensures that you sleep and wake up at the same time every day and more chances that you will get your required amount of sleep.
Avoid hitting the snooze button.
Yes, the snooze button may get you that extra amount of sleep but it is not really that useful. Waking up at the committed time you set your alarm to will ensure you wake up fresh.
Have a healthy, nutritious breakfast that gives you energy and keeps you refreshed after you wake up.
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It is a very regular thing for people to have coffee in order to stay awake and avoid sleepiness.
However, coffee does more harm than good in this respect.
But, there are many caffeine-free foods that one can have to stay awake:
Green Tea: It helps you rehydrate(dehydration is one cause for sleepiness, especially during the afternoons) and also has antioxidants that help boost energy levels.
Chocolate: Chocolate is made from cocoa beans that are rich in caffeine(less than that found in coffee). Along with this, chocolate also contains flavonoids that keep the heart-healthy.
Fruits: Fruits are quick sources of energy and rich sources of fiber. Having a bowl of fresh fruits can spike your energy levels, burn fats and ward off fatigue.
Whole grains: Whole grains contain carbs that break down slowly and provide a sustained release of energy, keeping you energetic.
Yes. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans which contain caffeine.
Apart from caffeine, chocolate has other stimulants like theobromine that cause sleeplessness and keep you awake.
While some foods induce sleep, there are some that can keep you awake:
A person suffering from insomnia must stay away from these foods.
Most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep to wake up fresh the next morning.
But, there are some people, called as long sleepers, who for work or school reasons are unable to get the required amount of sleep during weekdays and end up sleeping for up to 12-15 hours over the weekends or holidays to make up for the lost sleep.
Long sleepers often complain that they never get enough sleep and this disorder begins early in childhood. It is a lifelong pattern of needing lots of sleep.
Very little or too much sleep can make one feel tired, fatigued and lethargic.
This happens because any diversion from the body’s regular sleep cycle creates a perception of fatigue.
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As per the National sleep foundation’s study results, the panel recommends the following sleep ranges for the following age groups:
Deep sleep is vital since it is when your body is working its best to strengthen your mind and repair your body from the previous day's exertions.
The deep stage is the third stage of sleep, which is the most refreshing sleep.
Unfortunately, deep sleep reduces with age.
It is called heavy sleep because it is more difficult to wake people up in this stage as compared to the others.
People tend to experience sleep inertia if they suddenly wake up from this stage of sleep.
At this stage, you are less likely to wake in response to external stimuli as compared to when in light sleep.
One doesn't go directly to this stage but slowly transitions from non-REM sleep to light sleep to deep sleep.
It is during this stage that the human growth hormone gets released and restores your body from physical stresses of the day and your immune system and the brain refreshes itself for new learning for the next day.
Diverse yet equally crucial, restorative work happens during the deep sleep and REM sleep stages.
The third stage of sleep is the deep sleep during which both the brain and the body activity drop to their lowest possible point, directing blood from the brain to the muscles.
The final stage is REM (Rapid Eye Movement), when your brain gets extremely active, even more than when you are awake.
It is at this stage that you dream.
While deep sleep is important for growth, physical renewal, and hormone regulation, REM is the stage where the brain processes and synthesizes memories and actions.
When your brain is deprived of REM sleep, you might find it difficult to concentrate on a single activity as well as multitasking.
The lack of deep sleep also makes you feel depressed, get sick, and gain unhealthy weight.
Fitbit devices use actigraphy (the method of using a device to track your movements) to track your sleep.
When you are entirely unmoving, and at complete rest, your Fitbit device will count it as sleep.
The device automatically detects your sleep, and you simply have to wear it and go to bed.
For Fitbit devices with heart-rate tracking, your sleep stages will be recorded.
And for other devices, you will see your sleep pattern such as the time spent awake, restless, and asleep.
Total time slept is calculated by subtracting the time you were awake from the overall time tracked.
During normal sleep, you cycle through the four stages every night.
When such a cycle is interrupted, you might be deprived of good sleep, especially if the final or deep sleep stages are disturbed.
Sometimes, lack of sleep can be temporary, stem from a simple cause like a jet lag, an illness, a stressful event, high caffeine intake, or as a side effect of certain medication.
Long-term sleep deprivation can be due to depression, anxiety, or stress.
Other possible causes of insomnia include circadian rhythm disorder, sleep apnea, snoring, pregnancy, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, nightmares, night terrors, etc.
Deep sleep is essential for good health.
The following tips help get deep sleep faster:
A full night’s sleep is not a continuous experience but is divided into four well-defined sleep stages.
The last stage, REM sleep where you dream, is the most important stage of sleep.
This stage is vital for learning, retaining, and modifying our memories.
Deprivation of this stage of sleep can lead to physical and mental hardships, psychological damage, and could even lead to an early death.
No, the brain does not completely shut down during sleep.
However, during the REM stage, your brain’s thalamus (the part of your brain that relays sensory signals to the cerebral cortex to make you perceive things) reengages.
Your brain remains active when you sleep and thrives on a consistent sleep schedule.
Waking up in the middle of a night’s sleep can be due to the following reasons:
It might be difficult to wake someone up from deep sleep.
To do that, gently walk towards his/her bed and uncover them slowly.
Call them out in a low voice and raise your tone as you continue to do that alongside shaking them lightly until they wake up.
Yes. The rise in melatonin levels happens in the evening, which puts you into a state of quiet wakefulness.
The melatonin hormone, which is produced by the pineal gland in your brain, has a daily biorhythm.
Its levels rise and fall throughout the day and night, and reach its highest level in the evening, and falling to its lowest in the morning.
While most people produce melatonin naturally, some have to depend on a supplement to treat insomnia.
You are a restless sleeper if you roll over, change positions frequently, and wake up briefly.
While it is believed that restless sleeping could lead to tired days, it is perfectly normal to sleep restlessly.
According to Fitbit Sleep advisor, Dr. Michael Grandner, sleep is not completely still, and it is normal to move during our sleep, especially in the first two stages of sleep.
If you are seeking a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep, consider the following natural aids:
Dreams help to cope with major life stress and are important for memory consolidation and conflict resolution.
Dreaming can help alleviate depression and is like an overnight therapy session, that has the potential to de-escalate emotional reactivity in people.
It can take the sting out of painful emotions and help heal from it to carry on with our lives.
Dreaming also enhances creativity and problem-solving ability.
Sleep talking can be due to stress, depression, alcohol, fever, day-time drowsiness, and sleep deprivation.
It can even run in the family and sometimes co-occur with other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, nightmares, and confusional arousals.
In rare cases, it is linked to psychiatric disorders or nocturnal seizures.
Although it is possible that sleep deprivation can be fatal, given enough time, there is no known human being known to have died from staying awake.
But a series of groundbreaking experiments conducted on rats have reported the death of all the rats after 32 days of total sleep deprivation.
It is expected that humans too, could experience such a result when kept awake for such a long duration.
A consistent lack of sleep can play havoc with most aspects of your health.
Insomnia is often considered an early symptom of a rapid neurodegenerative disorder that could result in death within a couple of years.
However, it is so rare that only about 60 such cases have been reported throughout the world.
Cannabis can be an excellent sleep aid and can help even the most stubborn insomnia patients.
It has been used to induce sleep for centuries.
Per a recent study, cannabis reduces the time it takes to fall asleep, both for people with and without sleep problems.
Cannabis contains several natural chemicals including cannabinoids and terpenes that have an effect on the sleep and sleep cycle.
It also improves sleep apnea and its complications.
As per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five individuals have insomnia.
While sleeping pills or herbal sleep products can help you sleep, they aren’t always the best solution.
It can increase dependency, and some may even develop tolerance to them over time.
Thus, before trying out such options, it is important that you try following sleep hygiene and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Intervention for insomnia (CBT-I).
Sleep hygiene includes habits such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, taking a warm shower before bedtime, doing relaxation exercises, reducing caffeine intake, not eating a heavy meal close to bedtime, etc.
It will help you relax a bit since the carbohydrates in it can trigger serotonin production, which will make you drowsy.
2. Cut down or limit alcohol and caffeine.
Both of these have adverse effects on sleep, and thus curbing them can help insomnia.
3.Switch to non-alcoholic drinks like raspberry limeade
4. Include the following foods before bedtime to enhance sleep quality: Almonds, walnuts, turkey, chamomile tea, passion flower tea, milk, white rice, oatmeal, cottage cheese, bananas, kiwi, tart cherry juice and fatty fish.
Sleep meditation or Yoga Nidra (in Sanskrit) is a technique that produces a state of deep relaxation while being awake and alert.
It is a holistic approach to achieving a relaxed mind and body.
The difference between being asleep and sleep meditation is that during the former’s REM stage, our consciousness is suspended and the latter is a mind-calming practice where you are conscious.
Some popular methods of sleep medication include mindfulness meditation, concentration meditation, and guided meditation.
Hypnosis can be a good thing for promoting sleep.
It is a nonpharmacological approach that involves a state of changed mental activity after an induction procedure encompassing a state of focused absorption and attention.
Slow wave sleep plays a vital role in body restoration and promotes brain plasticity.
A study demonstrates that hypnosis is effective in increasing slow wave sleep and might be a successful tool with lower side effects to extend SWS in elderly and clinical populations.
Individuals with a certain genetic mutation tend to have deeper and more intense sleep than the rest.
A study has identified two genes- salt-inducible kinase 3 (SIK3) and sodium leak channel non-selective (Nalcn) that play a vital role in REM and NREM sleep.
Genes affect your sleep pattern, and it is estimated that there might be around six different kinds of insomnia associated with genetic factors.
Insomnia has been associated with the occurrence of specific variants on chromosome 7 and chromosome 9 among individuals of European descent.
Consume these healthy foods that help you fall asleep easier:
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