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Short sleepers need less sleep

Researchers Find 'Short Sleepers' Need Less Sleep


You know those people who claim they can get by on less than six hours of sleep a night? Turns out ABC says a few of them might be onto something. And we mean a few. "They never use an alarm clock, they rarely yawn, don't need caffeine, and no naps."

NPR reports so-called "short sleepers" make up a very small percentage of the population. "If you think you're one, you're probably kidding yourself. ... With just five or six hours' sleep, they're more energized than regular sleepers."

And less sleep isn't hurting these "short sleepers."

"All day long they are very active. They are very optimistic. They are go-getters."

A husband-and-wife team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, is studying the genetics of sleep and "short sleepers."

Dr. Ying-Hui Fu has discovered less than 1 percent of the population is biologically capable of comfortably running on six hours of sleep or less.

And "biologically capable" is the catch - it's a genetic mutation. Here's The Wall Street Journal:"Is the amount of sleep we naturally need hardwired to our bodies, or can we learn sleep patterns?"

"It's largely genetic, that's what researchers are finding."

According to CNN, Fu's lab has only found 20 to 30 people with the genetic mutation that allows them to get by on less sleep. ​Fu told CNN: "It's hard to tell how frequent this mutation is."

But with time and research, there might one day be a drug that changes the circadian rhythm, or internal clock, that controls sleep.

Fu's husband, Dr. Louis Ptáček, also studies sleep patterns - he focuses on circadian rhythms. Ptáček told The Wall Street Journal he hopes to begin testing drugs that will alter circadian rhythms. These drugs might eventually treat jet lag and enhance chemotherapy treatments. Fu hopes to find a drug that's better than caffeine at reducing the amount of sleep needed.

But it'll be awhile before these sleep-related drugs are available, so if you're hoping for something to ease that jet lag ... clocking a solid eight hours of sleep might be your best bet.


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Mark June 11 2014 at 9:34 AM

10 hours works fine for me!

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1 reply
David Mark June 11 2014 at 7:50 PM

This is usually the RECOMMENDED amount of sleep for any young kid. If WE were to GET this much sleep, I think we should be READY to face ourselves with the fact that we'll be a bit GROGGY through the day, afternoon, or night.

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alfredschrader June 11 2014 at 8:13 AM

One holiday week someone got the bright idea for everyone to come in on first shift
for the day before the Christmas holiday. I got off the night before at midnight and usually didn't get to sleep until 2am. I had to get back up again at 5:30 to shower and shave and get there by 7am. So I figured why try and sleep for 3-1/2 hours ? I'll just stay up and not go to bed.
It worked great until about 9am and I was walking to the coffee machine and I fell asleep
while walking - oh yeah. I woke back up just before I hit the floor ! I had to go home.
You can't go without sleep, it doesn't work. You need at least a couple of hours in a 24 hour period. Your eyes will be bloodshot but at least you can stay concious.

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3 replies
Welcome Justin June 11 2014 at 12:50 PM

Yeah, I used to get by on three hours of sleep and feel just fine the next day; with more energy than most everyone else. But that was in junior high. Younger people can do this, but when you get older, you body really does need more rest. It's not a genetic mutation or predisposition, it is an age related issue.

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2 replies
David Welcome Justin June 11 2014 at 8:04 PM

However, I think I can remember when I had seen ENERGY drinks coming out at least 10 years ago, I was a BIT concerned some teenagers and young adults drank an EXCESSIVE amount. Methinks they'd invite themselves to a BURNOUT, which could last FOREVER!

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maybe44712 Welcome Justin June 12 2014 at 4:36 AM

I'm 66 and average three hours, sometimes less, an hour at a time. I want to stop sleeping altogether. Big waste of time. They need to develop a drug.

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jano June 11 2014 at 12:26 PM

six hours is my max.
when i was younger 7 hr.s was max.
i think as we age we require less simply because we are not quite as active.

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3 replies
Jaeleth June 11 2014 at 6:25 AM

Reducing the amount of sleep needed will give the companies a pretext to lower your wages by increasing the standard working hour period with no need to pay for overtime...

I'm pretty sure that if this ""mutation"" is ever generalized through the use of drugs it won't be so we can have 2 more hours for our families or for fun.

Plus... I wonder if someone sleeping less will burnout first, in the long run. Genetic mutation or not, all I can see is that, in nature, the more active animals have the shortest lifespan while something like a turtle, well... Do I need to be more explicit?

When sleeping people dream, sometimes... And that is something we are able to do less and less often when awaken, nowdays...

All in favor of slave labour and nothing for the people... I pass... Next stupid "enhancement" please...

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dashdzl June 11 2014 at 3:19 PM

that's all we need is a drug to push us to the limit of not needing sleep

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2 replies
David dashdzl June 11 2014 at 8:01 PM

I've seen the episode of "American Dad" 2x now centering on this, and think if SUCH a drug existed, I'd need to THINK carefully before TRYING this out.

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maybe44712 dashdzl June 12 2014 at 4:37 AM

yes!

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Marcia June 11 2014 at 9:30 AM

My 8 hours of night sleep and one hour of siesta time has been reserved for me for as long as I can remember.

I sleep well; I function well.

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LINDA June 12 2014 at 12:23 AM

I require less than 6 hours of sleep at night, and a quick 15 mnutes nap in the afternoon, and I am good to go...well rested.

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Arcturus111 June 11 2014 at 10:24 AM

I can understand how people get up set with people who sleep less than others. I am one of the rare people who do not need much sleep. 4-5 hours have alawys been fine for me. I never had problems getting up with the babies at night. I drove my mother crazy when I was young. I learned to be quite and intertain myself. Thank God I married a man like myself. We ran a 24 hr. business had 3 shifts and it worked for us.

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1 reply
David Arcturus111 June 11 2014 at 8:05 PM

WORD POLICE HERE! Did you mean "quiet" and "entertain", mayhaps? Otherwise, you may CONFUSE lots of people the WAY you'd worded this reply.

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1 reply
shirley.lumpkin David June 11 2014 at 8:14 PM

Yes, this person needed to use spell check. My, oh, my!

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Gailsunday June 11 2014 at 7:52 PM

I seem to be one of the short time sleepers....six hrs. mostly my entire life, plus my sleep cycle is reversed....a night owl by nature, drove my parents crazy as a baby needing so little sleep and a pattern reverse of theirs....worked my whole life basically, except for one job where my hours were the PM shift from 1:15PM to 10:30PM, then off for a night of fun with my friends, back home at 6AM to1PM, then off to work again. Never felt better in my life as on that schedule....the rest of my 47 yr. working career was on EVERYBODY else's schedule, and rarely felt good physically or mentally. In retirement, I vowed, no more! So now I sleep from 3AM to 9 AM, no alarm clock, and I feel SO Much Better! If I sleep longer than 6 hrs. I don't feel good....feel drugged almost, don't like it at all.....so may people have found it "necessary" to argue with me about my sleep schedule and needs, who I don't know! The body always knows what it "needs" and will tell you if you pay attention.

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1 reply
Gailsunday Gailsunday June 11 2014 at 7:54 PM

sorry, that should say, "why I don't know!"

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