These gene carriers require significantly less sleep
A consistent 4 hours of sleep sounds like living hell… to most people.
But to some, it’s what their bodies need.
And when I say some, I mean the percentage of the population carrying the DEC2 gene mutation that causes “short sleep.” [R]
People with this genetic mutation only need a few hours of sleep per night to feel completely rested.
4-6 hours, to be exact.
It completely contradicts the public view of sleep.
The popular claim is that human beings need to get 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night across the board. But genes don’t care about popular claims.
People with this gene mutation actually claim that if they sleep as much as 7 hours, they feel worse.
So is this really a genetic advantage? I’ll let you decide.
How it works
DEC2 (encoded by the BHLHE41 gene) helps control levels of orexin, a hormone linked to wakefulness as well as reward, mood and appetite. [R]
Narcolepsy is like the opposite of short sleep – caused by too much of this same hormone.
Ying Hui Fu led the research team that first discovered this gene mutation in 2009. She explains that DEC2 is “the time-keeper to make sure orexin levels match the circadian rhythm.”
There seems to be no adverse effects either (the discovery is too recent for conclusive evidence).
“From what they tell us, the short sleepers are pretty energetic” Fu says. “And we believe that they feel refreshed since they can go on all day and be active.”
The research subjects Fu works with are quite fascinating…
She claims that doing research has been a bit difficult because this gene’s carriers “are usually very busy people and have difficulty finding time to do this.”
Some of the research participants are older and still active. “Even in their 70s-80s, they still play tennis, dance, and stay very active… We have, so far, no reason to suspect that their health and longevity is affected in any way.”
If you’re reading this and thinking these habits sound pretty familiar, you may be a carrier.
You may have it if…
Do you wake up before the rest of the world? Not because you trained yourself to, but because your body just does.
Maybe you have a jolt of energy in the morning that seems strange to the people around you. Maybe you feel completely rested after only six hours of sleep, while most people would feel like a zombie without at least 7.
Are you an active person throughout the day? Do you finish one thing and then immediately jump to the next?
Not because you feel like that’s what you’re “supposed to” do. It’s just the way you are.
Do you feel lethargic when you sleep more than 6 hours? Like the world has been telling you to sleep 7 hours, but every time you do you feel even worse than usual.
If any of these describe you, it may be worth checking your genotype.
To find out, simply search your SNP Analyzer in SelfDecode for rs121912617 and discover your genotype. If you have a TT or GT genotype, you are one of the lucky ones we call “short sleepers.”
I thought I may be a carrier…
I wake up at 6am on a consistent basis and have for years. I usually don’t fall asleep until around 12am. Sometimes even later than that.
And it’s not like I’m walking around all day exhausted (although, 3-4 cups of coffee admittedly helps).
Once I heard about Fu’s study, I thought I may be a carrier.
I went into my SNP analyzer in SelfDecode to see if I was one of the lucky ones.
Nope, just a boring ol’ GG for me.
If you’d like to check the SNP Analyzer to see if you have the DEC2 mutation, click here to check out SelfDecode.
So, why do I sleep so little?
I was a bit shocked that I didn’t have this DEC2 mutation.
Now, I was motivated to discover the real reason for my sleepless nights.
So, I downloaded the Insomnia DNA Report on SelfDecode. This report looks at 808,802 other gene mutations that can affect your sleep.
And there was my answer.
An above average genetic predisposition to insomnia – in the 89th Percentile. It was no wonder I don’t get much sleep.
Now that I thought about it, I guess it wasn’t that I didn’t need much sleep. I was just neglecting the sleep I did need, and making up for it with caffeine.
But with personalized recommendations, I have an action plan on fixing my sleep habits.
The first thing I’m going to add to my routine is supplementing with Valerian, a medicinal herb.
My GABRG2 gene variant likely lowers the activity of GABA, a chemical that relaxes the mind. Valerian helps by boosting GABA.
This was a recommendation I expected, but hoped not to see.
Excessive caffeine isn’t great for anyone. But people with my MRNR1B gene variant are especially susceptible to insomnia when they consume caffeine.
It hasn’t been easy, as I was up to about 4 cups before – but I’m down to one cup of coffee per day now.
And I’ve slept a full eight hours everyday this past week. This would’ve sounded impossible to me beforehand.
If you think you can sleep better
If you think it’d be worth it to improve your own sleep, SelfDecode will give you the step-by-step guide to do so based on your unique DNA.