Check out this post from Deborah Huso on AOL Health.
For those of us who always look admiringly at colleagues who seem to be able to breeze through anything regardless of whether they’ve had three hours of sleep or 10, there may be genetic clues as to why some people require loads of caffeine to power through the workday and others don’t. A new study points to the possibility that gene variants may determine everything from how easily we fall asleep to how many times we wake up in the night.
Research led by Dr. Namni Goel, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, set out to explain why some people function better on less sleep than others. The study, published in the most recent edition of Neurology, didn’t exactly answer that question, but it did show that a gene variant known as DQB1*0602 may cause people carrying it to be more fatigued than their non-DQB1*0602 carrying counterparts.
DQB1*0602 is normally associated with narcolepsy, a disorder that leads to excessive daytime sleepiness. But as many as 38 percent of people who carry the gene variant will never develop narcolepsy. In Goel’s study, she compared sleepers who carried the gene variant with those who didn’t. Both groups were healthy sleepers, and none of them suffered from narcolepsy.
The study found that those who carried the gene variant felt more sleep deprived than those without the variant when both were subjected to the same amount of sleep and sleep deprivation each night. However, researchers were surprised to find that both study groups performed similarly on cognitive tests following sleep deprivation. “In all of the cognitive tests we employed, both groups showed decrements when sleep deprivation occurred,” Gaol told AOL Health, “but they didn’t differ in performance.”
Keep reading on AOL Health.