Rare Gene Discovered in Short Sleepers

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August 14, 2009

For years, sleep experts have advised adults to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night for optimal health and energy. However, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have recently discovered a gene mutation that allows the carrier to function properly on less sleep than the average adult. A recent Associated Press article looked at a mother and daughter who share the gene DEC2, which is involved in circadian rhythm regulation. According to the article, the gene limits their sleep cycle to six hours a night. Researchers noted that the pair naturally fall asleep around 10:30 p.m. and wake up energized at 4 a.m. According to the Associated Press , they were the only two out of 250 volunteers in a study conducted by the university that possessed the gene. The finding, published in the journal Science, made a point in emphasizing the rarity of this gene and advised against this sleep pattern for most adults.