While many people only get about 6 hours of sleep a day, it turns out that’s only really the right amount of sleep for only 3-5% of us. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to such diverse bad effects as more car accidents, bad short term memory, depression, and an inability to control the appetite. Not enough sleep can even cause cancer and endocrine problems. Certainly this is a list of issues everyone would like to avoid.
A new study shows that some of the 3-5% of us who really can make do with less sleep have a mutation in a gene called DEC2, which regulates our internal clocks. While some scientists would like to use this research to eventually develop sleep in pill form, the rest of us will have to work on getting more of the real thing.