8 hours sleep may not be for all of us

Tuesday 29th December 2009

So much emphasis is placed on getting the right amount of sleep in order to be fully functional for our day ahead; but in an increasingly hectic world many ignore the doctor’s advice. However, a recent study has revealed that perhaps some of us are literally gifted in the sleep department, and the full eight hours really isn’t necessary. Not only that but scientists believe that many of us don’t just survive on less sleep but flourish from it.

The research, conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, U.S, believes that there could be such a thing as a “less-sleep gene” which is inherited from parents more or less the same way our eye colour is. Researchers also believe that tests conducted within sleep laboratories can completely affect the persons sleep; those who believe they need less sleep may sleep for the full eight hours, or do poorly on their tests. To see the functional way our bodies can cope with lack of sleep we only have to look at certain professions to see that many people can survive on long shifts of work with little sleep, e.g. doctors.

There are still questions rising as to whether there is a biological answer for the differences between who can and cannot survive on less sleep. Some researchers suggest that it isn’t down to being more alert on less sleep; it is just that some people can endure lack of sleep better than others. Whilst back in August of this year scientists at the University of California-San Francisco believed that they had found a gene that had mutated within a family to allow them to survive on just six hours sleep a night.

Unfortunately, if you do believe you are one of the lucky few who can survive on less sleep at night, the only way to find out if you do fall into this group would be to be tested within a sleep centre. Additionally, if it is a case of just being able to endure sleep deficiency better than others then severe questions will be raised as to the effect this could have on your health due to sleep being vital for the repair and re-growth of our bodies.

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