This Is the Genetic Reason Why Night Owls Thrive on Less Sleep

night owl; staying up late at night; genetics
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Experts have warned about not getting enough sleep. If you do fine on five hours, it may be due to a genetic mutation. University of California, San Francisco researchers found that people with a certain gene mutation sleep about two hours less than the rest of us (about five hours versus seven).

The research, a followup to a study conducted back in 2009, found a genetic mutation that promoted wakefulness that was also shared by a group of lab mice. The neurological compositions of their brains were tipped in favor of wakefulness as opposed to sleep. The mutation is responsible for clandestinely preparing the brain for longer days and shorter rest periods—the mice sleep less and wake more easily.

The head researcher on the project, professor Ying-Hui Fu, Ph.D., did, however, praise these night owls. She said those who get less sleep than the rest of us are more likely to experience better quality of sleep. Yes, night owls benefit from their genetic mutation—they’re also more likely to be energetic, optimistic, and better at multitasking.

How do you know whether you have gifted DNA or you’re just fooling yourself? It runs in the family: If you have relatives who don’t sleep much, chances are you need less, too.

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