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It’s all in the Genes: Here's Why Some People Feel Rested with Just 6 Hours of Sleep

According to researchers, a rare gene mutation has been discovered that explains why some people do not need the prescribed eight hours of sleep that many aspire for.

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Updated:September 10, 2019, 5:47 PM IST
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It’s all in the Genes: Here's Why Some People Feel Rested with Just 6 Hours of Sleep
(Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Geber86/ Istock.com)
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Scientists have now discovered why some people are able to survive on just a few hours of sleep a night. According to researchers, a rare gene mutation has been discovered that explains why some people do not need the prescribed eight hours of sleep that many aspire for.

According to a paper published in the science journal Neuron, people with the mutated ADRB1 gene, which has so far been found in more than 50 families, sleep for two hours less than the average. Scientists say that these people are often more optimistic, better multitaskers and more energetic as well. The study found that they do not suffer from jetlag, have higher pain threshold, and may live longer as well.

Speaking about the same, one of the lead authors of the study Louis Ptáček, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), said that the research is an exciting new frontier that allows them to dissect the complexity of circuits in the brain and the different types of neurons that contribute to sleep and wakefulness.

Notably, the family whose DNA led to the identification of this gene is one of several that Ptáček and UCSF geneticist Ying-Hui Fu, the paper's other senior author, are studying and includes several members who function normally on only six hours of sleep.

In experiments conducted with rats, scientists found that those they bred with the mutation needed 55 minutes of less sleep each day.

The other lead author of the study Ying-Hui Fu, professor of neurology at UCSF further revealed that sleep can be difficult to study using the tools of human genetics because people use a variety of means to alter their natural sleep cycles.

In the experiments, scientists discovered that the mutation promotes natural short sleep because it helps build brains that are easier to rouse and stay awake longer as well.

According to scientists, the discovery could help develop drugs that can combat conditions believed to be linked to not getting enough sleep and this is the first step in understanding the link between good sleep and overall health.

The investigators now plan to study the function of the ADRB1 protein in other parts of the brain.

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