If you struggle with sleep, you’re not alone

Have you ever had one of those nights where you feel like you’re tossing and turning in bed for hours on end, unable to doze off? Or, do you find yourself waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, unable to capture the deep sleep required to conquer grogginess the next day? Unfortunately, you’re not alone in your sleep struggles. 

It’s estimated that about a third of American adults do not regularly get the recommended amount of sleep their body requires to function properly, and a growing number of people are developing sleep disorders, like insomnia or sleep apnea. The causes of this widespread lack of sleep in America vary, but many people discount the importance of sleep and, therefore, don’t seek help when their sleep deteriorates. 

For those who have attempted to fix their sleep problems, medications or supplements, like melatonin, were probably the first lines of defense, followed by things like decreasing screen time or trying to establish a more consistent sleep schedule. 

But, did you know that your genes may play a role in your sleep issues, and by testing your genes, you may be able to fix your sleep problems once and for all? 

Genes and sleep: what’s the connection? 

Many of our clients are surprised when we tell them that certain genetic mutations may be making it harder for them to fall or stay asleep at night. Other than the obvious genetically inherited sleep disorders, one of the lesser known (but equally important) genetic mutations that can impact sleep is the COMT gene. 

COMT is the gene responsible for triggering the production of the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (hence the shortened name, COMT). This enzyme is produced in two different places and has two slightly different forms depending on where it’s produced. The longer form (MB-COMT) is produced by nerve cells in the brain, and the shorter form (S-COMT) is produced in other tissues, like the liver, kidneys, and blood.

Essentially, COMT helps to maintain a balance the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, especially those responsible for passing information to and from the prefrontal cortex, like dopamine and norepinephrine. 

When there’s a mutation with COMT, it can be harder for the brain to carry out key processes that affect things like personality, planning, inhibition, abstract thinking, emotion, and short-term memory. A COMT mutation can also make it harder for your mind to quiet down, which is why many people with this mutation have trouble falling asleep due to a racing mind. 

What are the symptoms of a COMT mutation?

Getting a genetic test that can identify a mutation with COMT is the only way to confirm whether or not you have the mutation, but there are a few key signs that we tend to see in folks who do have issues with COMT (other than poor sleep, of course).

Those with this mutation tend to experience conditions like ADD, ADHD, and OCD. They’re also more prone to feeling internal chaos, which can result in craving external organization that is more controllable. COMT mutations can also cause affected individuals to be perfectionists and have a harder time quieting the mind, which leads to poor sleep and difficulty getting enough sleep. 

How can genetic testing help with sleep?

With the connections between your genes and sleep, testing for genetic mutations can help identify the underlying cause of your poor sleep and, more importantly, how to swim upstream and fix the problem at the source. 

Once you’ve identified the cause of your poor sleep, it’s much easier to treat the root cause through supplementation or lifestyle changes. While a COMT mutation cannot be reversed, supplements and other natural remedies can help combat the effects of the mutation, namely helping you quiet your racing thoughts and in turn get a better night’s sleep.. 

Struggling with sleep? Get a genetic test!

While not all sleep disorders and issues can be tied to the COMT gene mutation, it’s much more common than you think, and most genetic tests ordered by your doctor won’t look at this gene. But, the 10X Health genetic test does — along with 4 other actionable genes that greatly impact your body’s ability to function optimally.

Sleep is one of the most important factors for how well (or poorly) your body functions, so, if you’re not getting enough quality sleep, it’s important to take action sooner than later. Order your at-home genetic test today, and find out if your genes may be to blame for your sleep problems. 

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