Have you ever wished there were more hours in the day? I know someone who insists on extending his days by consuming energy drinks. In his opinion, sleeping is a waste of precious time. Unfortunately, for most humans, 8 hours of sleep is required to function properly. Some people can manage with far less sleep, which for those of us who really NEED 8 hours of shut-eye, is hard to imagine. For me, sometimes it seems even 8 hours doesn’t suffice, which is evidenced by my morning alarm-snooze-alarm-snooze routine, and my sofa sleeping habit in the evenings.

In an August article from Scientific American, a rare genetic mutation has been identified on a gene called DEC2 that causes it’s carriers to become “short sleepers”, meaning they need less sleep! Two women, a mother and daughter, who have this mutation require only 6 hours of sleep without a negative impact. Apparently they can do this because they have a more efficient sleep, with more intense REM states, which was observed in mice with the same mutations.

Why is this important, you may ask? Someday this will help scientists in the treatment of certain debilitating sleep disorders. On a more selfish note, it might even help scientists to develop a biological treatment that allows us regular folk to function just as well as we already do, with less sleep. Just think of the things you could accomplish with a few extra hours!