Published on 06/12/2011
Scientists have discovered that people who like a lie-in could have a genetic reason for needing more sleep.
Experts from the University of Edinburgh and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich studied more than 10,000 people from the Orkney Islands, Croatia, the Netherlands, Italy, Estonia and Germany.
These people reported how long they slept for and provided a blood sample for DNA analysis. All were asked about their sleep patterns on "free" days, when people did not need to get up for work the next day, take sleeping pills or work shifts.
Their findings, published in Molecular Psychiatry, showed that those with the gene ABCC9 needed around 30 minutes more sleep per night than those without the gene.
The gene is carried by one in five Europeans, and is involved in sensing energy levels of cells in the body.
The researchers also looked at how the gene works in fruit flies. The fruit flies without the ABCC9 gene slept for three hours less than normal. Dr Jim Wilson University of Edinburgh said: "Humans sleep for approximately one-third of their lifetime.
"A tendency to sleep for longer or shorter periods often runs in families despite the fact that the amount of sleep people need can be influenced by age, latitude, season and circadian rhythms."
"These insights into the biology of sleep will be important in unravelling the health effects of sleep behaviour."
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011Categories: Health