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Not Getting Enough Sleep

Written by in Science on
Lack of Sleep

Your genes might be to blame, study suggests

Most people know someone who never sleeps but is always full of energy. On the other hand you have the heavy sleepers, those who can spend more than ten hours in bed and still not feel rested enough. Have you ever wondered how they do it?

The truth is that the average length of sleep varies between individuals. Indeed, it actually also changes over time and many factors influence how much sleep you are getting, including age, lifestyle, gender and even climate. It’s clear that there is no ideal period of time of sleep that everyone conforms to.

What’s the reason behind these variations? Why don’t humans all sleep the exact same amount of hours in the same pattern?  It seems that people suffering from insomnia have their ancestors to blame, so to speak, as a new study by an international team of researchers indicates that the cause of not being able to sleep at night is probably genetic in nature. The study found a “common” genetic variant that heavily influences the amount of time the participants spend in sleep mode on average in a 24 hour cycle. When it manifests, the straint has a “significant effect on sleep duration.”

According to the details as reported by The Sleep Foundation, “more than 4.000 people from seven European populations, from countries as diverse as Estonia and Italy, took part in the project, and filled out a questionnaire designed to assess their sleeping habits“.

The resulting behavioural data was then submitted for analysis against the participants’ genetic data, a test which showed that individuals who displayed two copies of the common genetic strain ABCC9 slept significantly less. Therefore that genetic variation is responsible for not getting enough sleep. It seems the gene has evolved with the human race since ancient times, and is similiar to a gene that is present in fruit flies, which also show similiar sleep behaviours.

It is important to note however, that as with any physical symptoms, sleep insomnia is a sleep disorder and genetic causes may only be underlying factors. As our R&T Department published paper shows, other factors such as the sleeping environment itself, as well as psychological and neurological conditionalso play a heavy role in perpetuating sleep problems.

Have you experienced times when you just couldn’t sleep?  How did you mange?

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2 Responses to “Not Getting Enough Sleep”

  1. [...] Cause: the reasons why your child suffers from asthma. This is most probably a mix of inherited genetic factors combined with the geographical location and lifestyle. (For example: Having an asthmatic [...]

  2. [...] Cause: the reasons why your child suffers from asthma. This is most probably a mix of inherited genetic factors combined with the geographical location and lifestyle. (For example: Having an asthmatic [...]

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