September 3, 2019
Back in 2009 the researchers discovered that those with a mutation in their DEC2 gene averaged 6.25 hours sleep per night, compared to 8.06 hours in those without the mutation. 10 years later, researchers have now discovered another mutation, ADRB1 gene, that allows members of a family with the mutation to sleep for only 4.5 hours per night and not feel tired.
The researchers latest breakthrough came after identifying a family with three consecutive generations of natural short sleepers, with no-one harbouring the DEC2 mutation. Using gene sequencing and the linkage analysis technique they were able to identify the ADRB1 mutation was also linked with natural short sleep.
The researchers then bred rats with the ADRB1 mutation, finding that the gene was vastly expressed in the region of the brain known to regulate sleep. These rats slept for 55 minutes less on average compared to regular rats, humans with the gene were found to sleep 2 hours less than average.
The results of this research could have a great impact on numerous illnesses and conditions, researchers describe how sleep deprivation is linked to long-term health, “You’re more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, metabolic problems and a weakened immune system.”