View Full Version : Scientists discover why some thrive on less sleep than others

08-04-2014, 04:31 AM
Researchers at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted a study to find out why a small percentage of people appear to only need six hours of sleep whereas most everyone else needs between eight and nine hours for optimal functioning during the day.

They worked with 100 pairs of twins and identified a gene mutation that allows one not only to function on less sleep but also to experience fewer effects of sleep deprivation even after an all-nighter.

The gene in question is called BHLHE41 and the variant is called p.Tyr362His for identification purposes, and individuals with the variant slept just five hours per night on average.

On the flipside, the twin without the mutation slept an hour and five minutes longer and struggled more in attempting to perform after 36 sleepless hours than his sibling with the variant.


How about you guys? Do you need more or less sleep? I think I'm probably in the thrive on less, seeing as I'm still up and posting on the forum. :biggrin1:

08-04-2014, 05:21 AM
In the summer I don't sleep as well: I average 6 hours of sleep at night, and I get groggy in the mid-afternoon. If it's my day off and I have nothing to do, I relish in having an afternoon siesta for about 1-3 hours. Since the sun rises so early in the summer, I naturally wake up around 5:30 am, no matter what time I go to sleep the night before, and I simply cannot get myself to go back to sleep. If it's too hot at night (indoor temperature more than 73F, ~23C) I'm absolutely miserable. I need a constant cool breeze from an open window, or cold A/C, and I have to have a glass of ice water next to me.

In the winter months I usually average 8-9 hours of sleep, waking up sometime between 6-7am. And I wake up feeling well-rested, and I can wake up in the same position that I went to sleep in. I prefer to turn off the heat, or set it at 59F (15C), and/or leave a window cracked open for ventilation. For this reason I like one-story houses, or a bedroom on a lower level, because it's cooler, while bedrooms upstairs tend to be stuffy and too warm.

Also I try to avoid supper, otherwise I get overheated and parched, waking up at 3:00am, and drinking a few glasses of ice

My friends and former classmates teased me for my narcoleptic tendencies (probably from my Asian genes) I was always the one asleep in lectures (head tilted back and mouth open) with the professor glaring at me, especially if the auditorium was well air-conditioned and the speaker had a monotonous voice.

Typically after a few waking hours I can make myself fall asleep for a nap, or enter a very relaxed state (sometimes my eyes are still wide open) if I "concentrate" and I'm not disturbed, no matter where I am (in a waiting room, at an office, a car or plane, sitting in a chair, etc.); I just need 10-20 minutes--I can zone everything out, delving deep into my own thoughts--I suppose it's a form of meditating. And I've had people call my name while in this state and I won't respond, unless I'm nudged or yelled at. ***Maybe I had lots of practice perfecting my technique while sitting in some boring lectures as a college student.

08-04-2014, 05:45 AM
One more observation, I noticed over the course of the past couple of years: after a few days of fasting (for the month of Ramadan) I can only get myself to sleep at night for no more than 3-4 hours at a time (sometimes only 2 hours). And I wake up wide awake, yet annoyed that I haven't slept longer, and cannot return to sleep immediately after that. And there were a couple nights here and there that I stayed awake for approximately 24 hours--my mind was "wired," and I was worried that the lack of sleep was detrimental, especially since my job requires attention to detail and lots of people interaction. But I was fine and functioned as well as any other day, albeit laconic and thirsty.

After the fast, I resume my normal sleep pattern.

08-04-2014, 10:45 AM
Interesting. I require about 7-8 hours and do not do well if I haven't slept for an extended period. My wife, however, goes on little sleep and can go for days. She used to work the midnight shift with no problem, getting a few hours of sleep in the afternoon. I cannot stay up all night.

08-04-2014, 11:14 AM
I am the opposite of those who've posted so far; if I sleep early (9-10pm), 8.5-9 hours is perfect for me. Any later than that and I'll sleep for 12 hours or more.

I have also stayed up for ridiculous lengths of time in the past. Several years ago, I was awake for exactly 70 hours without rest* helping my brother with some coursework. After driving him to school to submit it, I collapsed in bed around 1:45pm on a Thursday. Woke up around 5:30am on Sunday. I'd effectively slept for over two and a half days just to make up.** :D Similar incidents happened in university, leading my friends to believe I'd passed away and contemplated phoning for an ambulance. My story actually goes against the researcher's conclusion regarding long sleepers and their difficulty in staying up for ridiculous lengths of time.

* I zoned out for exactly 1 hour in-between days 2 and 3 while on the computer. Not sure if that counts as sleep.
** According to the family, I did use the restroom over the two and a half days, but I have no recollection of it. Safe to say I woke up absolutely starving and thirsty.

08-04-2014, 11:20 AM
Truth be told, I thrive on less sleep than others... Sometimes I just sleep 4 hours or so.
I slept for only 6 hours last night.

08-04-2014, 06:24 PM
I would like to find out about Rem sleep and non-Rem sleep

Rem sleep , I was told was only for the brain to rest, while other was for the body

08-06-2014, 08:56 PM
I worked the midnight shift for years. I taped aluminum foil over my windows so that it was pitch black in my bedroom and slept like a baby. I also kept a fan on for "white noise" and to keep things cool.

I've noticed that it was easier to sleep for long periods when I was younger. Now I wake up at least once per night, sometimes twice. It really bugs me, but I can't seem to help it.

I can get by on little sleep, but I do not like it. I enjoy a nice, long, 7-9 hours when I can get it, and I really enjoy a nap in the afternoon, when that is possible.

In the summer, when the sun comes up, it isn't long before I am up, too. Winter is best for sleeping.

08-06-2014, 09:04 PM
I need at least 8 hours of sleep in order to function, I've always needed more sleep than anyone in my family. My sons (8 and 4) thrive on little sleep whereas my daughter (6) is a sleepy head like me.

Gary Corbett
08-09-2014, 03:21 AM
I'm good with 5 hours.
Any less won't do,though.

Gray Fox
08-09-2014, 08:26 AM
Five to seven hours is my average. Any less and I feel groggy. The only time I sleep eight or more hours is when I'm sick. Which has been the case this week!

08-09-2014, 11:05 AM
I find in terms of energy, i have less (or i feel more lethargic) after having 8+ hours of sleep, and the less sleep i have the more awake i am after i wake up again, but if i have less than 6 or 7 i suddenly become very tired after several hours rather than being able to make it through to the evening before being tired.