The Genetic Component That Causes Night Owls to Chronically Sleep Late

Vox reporter Brian Resnick and narrator Elizabeth Scheltons explain, via clever animation, how a certain genetic component called a chronotype causes a small part of the population to chronically sleep in late, an internal behavior that’s often seen in a negative light.

There are night owls among us — whose whole circadian schedules are shifted later — and morning larks, who are shifted earlier. …These traits are determined by genetics and are extremely hard to change. What’s more, the research is finding that if we fight our chronotypes, our health may suffer. …But most striking to me wasn’t the health implications of messing with your clock. It was the stigma late sleepers feel in a society ruled by early risers. Simply put: These late sleepers are tired of being judged for a behavior they cannot easily control. If they can’t change their sleep patterns, maybe society should become more accepting of them.