A new study has found that some people need less than 8 hours of sleep to live and work normally.
The researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) conducted research and discovered a genetic link. This link particularly relates to why some people need an 8-hour sleep. While on the other side, some individuals can work normally even after sleeping for 5 or 6 hours.
Scientists have been working on the role of genetics in circadian rhythms. However, only a few of them have studied the genetic association with the sleeping patterns.
Louis Ptáček, the senior author of the study said that a person, on average, spends one-third of his life sleeping. Still, we do not know much about sleep.
However, this research enables us to understand the complexities in the brain. We can study different types of neurons that are involved in our sleeping and waking behaviors.
The researchers from UCSF studied a family that functions normally in daily life with less than 8 hours of sleep. In this way, they identified and analyzed the gene that determines how much sleep an individual needs.
The role of the rare variant ADRB1 in sleep hours determination
The research team analyzed the sleeping behaviors and genetic makeup of the family members. These individuals live a functional normal life with just 6 hours of sleep in the night.
Researchers used genetic linkage technology and whole-exome sequencing to identify a rare variant called ADRB1. It is the mutation of the β-1 adrenergic receptor gene that regulates sleep and wake duration.
To identify the role of ADRB1, the first important step was to study and analyze its protein. After that, researchers introduced the mutated version of the ADRB1 gene in mice and study them.
They found that the mice with rare variant ADBR1 required 55 minutes less sleep than the others.
Dr. Ying-Hui Fu is another senior author of the study. She said that we wanted to observe if this mutation causes any other functional alteration as well.
They found that the rare variant ADRB1 is less stable protein as compared to normal translated protein of the gene. They suggested that this mutation may show some functional consequences in the brain.
The discovery is important in sleep science
Researchers explained that after further analysis, they found that ADRB1 is present at dorsal pons in high amount. Dorsal pons is a region of the brainstem. It is associated with our subconscious activities like eye movements, sleeping, and respiration.
Although mice have different sleeping patterns as compared to humans, scientists believe that this discovery is important in sleep science.
Dr. Fu predicts that this study is helpful for the development of new drugs. The dugs that regulate sleep patterns and treat conditions like insomnia.
Dr. Fu said that sleep is very important for us. It promotes our health and enhances our daily performance.
When we don’t get enough sleep, we are vulnerable to an increased risk of many diseases. These diseases include autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.