Saturday, August 15, 2009

Can't sleep? There's a mutation for that.

Forget caffeine, stress, or exercise–I have a new reason to blame for my odd sleeping habits: my genes! Or rather, a mutation in one of them. Here's a part of the recent NY Times article on this discovery:
The scientists were searching the samples for variations in several genes thought to be related to the sleep cycle. In what amounts to finding a needle in a haystack, they spotted two DNA samples with abnormal copies of a gene called DEC2, which is known to affect circadian rhythms. They then worked back to find out who provided the samples and found a mother and daughter who were naturally short sleepers. The women routinely function on about 6 hours of sleep a night; the average person needs 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep....
What distinguishes the two women in the study and other naturally short sleepers is that they go to bed at a normal time and wake up early without an alarm. The two women, one in her 70s and the other in her 40s, go to bed around 10 or 10:30 at night and wake up alert and energized around 4 or 4:30 in the morning, Dr. Fu said.
“When they wake up in morning, they feel they have slept enough,” Dr. Fu said. “They want to get up and do things. They arrange all their major tasks in their morning.”
Sound familiar? Does to me. I'll keep an eye out for more info on this DEC2, which is apparently interrupting my sleep.


  1. It all makes sense...