Scientists discovered that people who need only a few hours of sleep each night before waking up refreshed and full of energy (no coffee required!) owe this ability to a single gene:
The Europe-wide study saw 4,000 people from seven EU countries fill out a questionnaire assessing their sleep habits. The researchers then scanned the genomes of the volunteers and looked for variations in their genes that correlated with their answers about their sleep patterns.
They discovered that people who had two copies of one common variant of ABCC9 slept for significantly shorter periods than people with two copies of another version.
The finding, described in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, could explain why light sleepers are able to get by on just a few hours of shut-eye a night, says Toronto-based sleep expert Dr. Colin Shapiro.
"This tells us that we are programmed in some way to need a certain amount of sleep, just as some people are programmed to be taller and others are programmed to be shorter," he told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday morning.