How much sleep do you need? For most people, eight to 8½ hours is best, but others function well on six hours. Now researchers say the latter group may have a genetic mutation to thank.According to a study in the journal Science, a mother and daughter who thrive on six hours of shuteye had a mutated gene not found in their relatives. And when they engineered mice with this gene, they also slept less and recovered faster from sleep deprivation compared with normal mice.
Study authors say that while the mutation is probably rare, the finding offers a chance to probe the regulation of sleep quality and quantity, in order to help people with insomnia.
Sleep disruption can have serious health consequences, including cancer and endocrine function, as well as cognition and mood.