Why some people do not need sleep - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 July 2015 03:00

Is it true that there are people who only need a few hours of sleep per night? Correspondents spoke with a woman whose genes may be able to give us a clue as to how to spend less time in bed.

What would you do if you are at your disposal suddenly had 60 additional days per year? This can ask Abby Ross, a former psychologist from Miami, in the US state of Florida. She sleeps a little: every day she needs only four hours of sleep, so it is a lot of free time, prepared by the hours that people spend the rest in bed.

"It's great to have so many hours in a day, I feel like I live two lives at once" - she says.

Malospyaschie people, such as Russia, will never feel overwhelmed and do not like to lie in bed. They get up early - usually four or five in the morning - and enthusiastically accepted for their deeds. Perhaps, their number includes "Iron Lady", former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, she said that sleeps four hours a day. While the singer Mariah Carey says that she needs at least 15 hours.

As it turned out, that some of us sleep very effective, while others half asleep, before a more or less finally wake up? Is it possible to change their biorhythm so that sleep is more productive?

In 2009, the laboratory at the University of California in San Francisco, where Dr. Ying-Hui Fu holds a sleep study, came a woman who complained that he always wakes up too early. Initially, Fu decided that the patient - just pronounced "lark", ie a person who Early to bed and early to rise. But the woman explained that she was in bed actually sent near midnight and waking up at four in the morning fully rested. According to her, as well behaved and several other members of her family.

Fu and colleagues compared the genome of the different members of this family. They found a small mutation in a gene called DEC2, attended all malospyaschih. She had no other family members, as well as with 250 volunteers, recruited from the side.

When the scientists have deduced mice with the same genetic mutation, it became clear that these rodents also slept less than their counterparts, but just as well to perform physical and mental tasks.

As a rule, lack of sleep has a very significant impact on overall health, quality of life and its expected duration. It can lead to depression, obesity and increase the risk of heart attack and diabetes. "Sleep is very important: if you sleep well, you can avoid many diseases and even dementia - says Fu. - If you deprive a person of only two hours of sleep a day is almost immediately have a negative impact on his mental abilities."

But why sleep is so important for the human body, scientists still can not fully understand. They generally agree that the brain needs sleep to freshen up and implement the important tasks that are not enough resources during waking. During sleep, the brain can heal damaged cells, remove accumulated toxic substances per day, to replenish energy stores and consolidate the information in the memory.

"It is obvious that people with a mutation of the gene DEC2 can perform all the same tasks over a compressed time - they just sleep better than all the rest, - says Fu. - But how do they do it? That's really the main issue."

According to the scientist, since the discovery of mutations DEC2 has a lot of people said that they could sleep only a few hours a day. The majority of these patients insomnia. "We did not undertake to study those who have trouble sleeping, and from this they sleep less. We have decided to focus our efforts on those who sleep a few hours and still feels great," - explains the researcher.

Among malospyaschih people studied in the laboratory Yin-Hui Fu, dominated by a positive attitude towards life. "From the discussions, it is clear that they are very energetic and optimistic. They often feel as though they would take from his life the most, but we can not say with certainty whether it is relevant to their mutations", - she says.

Abby Ross fully meets this description. "I always feel great when I wake up," - she says. It sleeps four or five hours a day for as long as he can remember.

"These early morning hours - around five in the morning - just gorgeous. Everything is quiet and peaceful, and we can do so much. It would be great if at the time it was opened more stores, but I can make purchases on the Internet or read: there are so many interesting reading! You can also go and work out while everyone is asleep, or to communicate with people in other time zones, "- says Ross.

Fewer dream allowed her to complete a university course in two and a half years, and also to get a lot of new skills. For example, just three weeks after the birth of her first son, Ross decided to take early morning jogging. For 10 minutes, she ran around the block. The next day she went to run again, this time away. She gradually increase your workouts until you ran 37 marathons (one per month for three years) and several ultramarathon (ultramarathon is any race at a distance longer than the traditional 42.195 km - Ed.). "I can get up early and work out at all - and yet, I do not need to think about it," - she says.

As a child, Ross spent the morning with her father, who also slept little. "In the morning we have a great time together!" - She recalls. Now, if she suddenly awake longer than usual (which, according to her, happened only a few times), her husband begins to worry, she died: "I do not stay in bed, I would let it felt horrible."

Dr. Ying-Hui Fu subsequently sequenced genomes of several families that correspond to the criteria malospyaschih. Scientists are just beginning to understand what gene mutations give humans the power, but, according to Fu, it is possible that one day we will be able to "contain" it artificially.

But until that happens, is there any useful tips that would allow us to better sleep? Neil Stanley, an independent consultant on sleep, says yes: "The most effective way to improve sleep - is to get up every morning at the same time."

According to Stanley, when the body gets used to a certain time, wake-up, it makes the most of the remaining hours before bedtime. "Studies show that the body begins to prepare for waking for about a half hour of waking up. The body is very like regularity, and if you ever change the sleep time, then the body is not the slightest clue as to whether you need to prepare for the recovery."

In addition, experts say, do not listen to public opinion about sleep. "In society, it is assumed that a little sleep - a good thing, and it should be encouraged. We are constantly cited as an example of Margaret Thatcher and renowned business leaders, who do not need much sleep. But in fact, all this is genetically determined, as the growth and size shoes. Some people need a little sleep, others - 11 or 12 hours, so they went into the optimum mode. "

According to Stanley, many of those who have trouble sleeping, do not actually experiencing difficulty falling asleep and just have some own expectations about how much sleep they need. "If each of us could identify their dreams and live accordingly, our quality of life would be greatly improved," - he concludes.

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