Sleepy? Your Genes May Determine How Much Shut-Eye You Need

Study finds some people are wired to need less sleep than others.

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Tell us you feel just fine on a few hours of sleep and don’t be surprised if we smack you with our pillow.

We prefer—make that require—at least a straight eight for optimum energy, and now a new study says we can blame our genes for our snoozing ways.

ABC News reports researchers have found that the ABCC9 gene (clearly we were catching up on our z’s in science class) has some control over how long a person needs to sleep, and in a study, those with one version of the gene needed less pillow time than those with another version.  

“Our society has equated sleepiness with defects of character, like laziness and depression, but really, some people are generally sleepier during the day,” Dr. Mark Mahowald, medical director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center, tells ABC. “We have to accept the fact that sleep duration is genetically determined and not a sign of a defect.”

So, sorry, boss. We can’t help that we dozed off during that meeting this morning. As Lady Gaga says, we were born this way.

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First Published November 29, 2011

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