The Gene for Short Sleepers

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.

Link - via Booster Shots


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Been a classic short sleeper my entire life. I remember being 5 and my parents going to bed whereas I insisted on staying up because 'sleeping was a waste of time' I told them :-)

I am 45 now and still feel this way. I sleep 5-6 hours tops and after those rare nights when I get more than 6 hours of sleep I feel sluggish and beat all the day. I love having all these extra hours available to me and am accomplishing much more than those who do not have the benefit. I use the time to exercise, read and work. Neither of my children inherited the gene apparently...
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"That 'few hours of sleep'-gene seems like an aberration and I wonder what the hidden cost is. Maybe it takes 10 years off their life expectancy, who knows, seems entirely possible to me."

YES! YES! Because I don't understand it, I must fear it, and I must insist that other people not look into it! Change is scary, so let us remain stagnant!
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>> Hopefully some gene therapy in the future can do this.

Humans have evolved for thousands of years (or millions of years depending where you start) to need 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep (for adults). I would be careful to mess with that.

That 'few hours of sleep'-gene seems like an aberration and I wonder what the hidden cost is. Maybe it takes 10 years off their life expectancy, who knows, seems entirely possible to me.
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