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Gene Mutation Behind Short Sleep

by Sheela Philomena on April 12, 2011 at 10:52 AM
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 Gene Mutation Behind Short Sleep

Scientists have identified a small group of people called the 'sleepless elite'. These group of people rather being tired, bad-tempered, under-achievers, they are an energetic, outgoing and optimistic group who can happily and healthily get by on just four or five hours of shut-eye a night.

They also tend to be slim, able to hold down two jobs at the same time, and breeze through their extra-long days without needing caffeine pick-me-ups or catnaps.

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American scientists who studied an extended family in California focused on a mother and daughter who appeared perfectly healthy despite their shared lifelong habit of getting up early in the morning, having gone to bed close to midnight.

A DNA test showed they had a tiny mutation in a gene called hDEC2 - but it was missing in other family members who slept normally.

When mice were genetically engineered to have the mutation, they too struggled to sleep.
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Working out how the gene cuts sleep without any obvious impact on health could help in the design of drugs that give us all a few extra hours in our day.

The bad news is that while many people get by on a few hours' sleep a night, just 1 to 3 people in 100 qualifies as a member of the sleepless elite. Everyone else is simply sleep deprived.

Source: ANI
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