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Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep 272

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the i-want-to-be-like-mork dept.
reporter writes to tell us that researchers are claiming to have discovered a genetic mutation that allows people to manage with much less sleep. One of the researchers hopes that this could lead to artificially reducing the amount of sleep required in your average human. "Although the mutation has been identified in only two people, the power of the research stems from the fact that the shortened sleep effect was replicated in mouse and fruit-fly studies. As a result, the research now gives scientists a clearer sense of where to look for genetic traits linked to sleep patterns."
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Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep

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  • Next up (Score:5, Funny)

    by ausekilis (1513635) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:59PM (#29069277)
    Maybe they'll find a genetic predisposition of attraction to LCD screens and avoidance of sunlight.
    • Re:Next up (Score:5, Informative)

      by linhares (1241614) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:18PM (#29069523)

      Maybe they'll find a genetic predisposition of attraction to LCD screens and avoidance of sunlight.

      Don't joke dude; the gene is named DEC [wikipedia.org]2; I'm sure they'll find it.

      In any case, this is VERY exploratory stuff. They have found the gene in two women only, but were able to replicate it in some poor little mice and fruit flies. Other than that, the lack of details is what is outstanding about the article.

      Oh, for those tagging this as "registration required", just google the effing URL of the NYTimes article, as users that come from Google get a free ride. You gotta hand it to these newspapers guys; they want to block people while getting google love.

  • Mutation (Score:5, Funny)

    by avandesande (143899) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:00PM (#29069293) Journal

    Mutation activated by Mountain Dew and Cheetos

    • In other words, this mutation is the driving force of the Linux/FOSS community.... Hail and praise!

  • by realsilly (186931) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:00PM (#29069299)

    .... genetic mutation for less sheep. That could cause problems in alabama...

    • .... genetic mutation for less sheep. That could cause problems in alabama...

      Nah, there aren't that many Scotsmen in Alabama. You do realize there is a reason that Dolly was cloned in Scotland, right?

      • by s4ltyd0g (452701)

        Because they wear kilts and the sound of zippers scare the sheep?

      • Nah, there aren't that many Scotsmen in Alabama. You do realize there is a reason that Dolly was cloned in Scotland, right?

        Q: What is the difference between a Scotsman and Mick Jagger?

        A: One sings Hey McCloud get offa my ewe!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Fucking colonials. In Europe, it's the welshmen we make fun of for their attraction to sheep. We make fun of the scotsmen for being dour tightwads.

          On the other side of the globe, New Zealanders get the short end of the stick in regards to livestock love.

          Here endeth the lesson.
    • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:15PM (#29069491)

      And in New Zealand [adultsheepfinder.com].

    • by Whorhay (1319089)
      Comically enough I'm not sure if I've seen a single Sheep outside of the state fair here in Alabama. I did see them quite often in Ohio though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by iphayd (170761)

        That's because they're in the red light section of the state fair. Have you shown proof of age anywhere yet? Then you can't see any sheep.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by R2.0 (532027)

      "genetic mutation for less sheep"

      That would be fewer sheep. After all, the whole point of sleep is to count them...

  • by 8127972 (73495) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:02PM (#29069321)

    ... Before we get Gustav Graves? [wikipedia.org]

    Someone better tell MI6.

  • by Imagix (695350) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:03PM (#29069327)
    I can see these things coming up: 1) Companies requiring genetic therapy to retroactively apply this mutation to you. 2) Extending the work day as the workers don't need as much sleep
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:31PM (#29069715) Homepage

      "Certainly, the eugenistic and racial ideologies that in the past humiliated man and provoked immense suffering are not being proposed again, but a new mentality is creeping in that tends to justify a different consideration of life and personal dignity . . . The tendency, therefore, is to give precedence to the active faculties, to proficiency, to physical perfection and beauty, to the detriment of other dimensions of existence that are not thought to matter. This weakens the respect that is due to every human being, even in the presence of a developmental defect or a genetic illness that could be manifested at some point in his life . . "

      ... or when they don't want to be infused with the "latest and greatest" trendy genetic therapy.

      (Pope Benedict XVI, with regards to human dignity in the face of genetic enhancement technology)

      • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:37PM (#29070639)

        >Pope Benedict XVI

        The guy who is against condom use in Africa, runs his own country, believes non-christians deserve eternal torment, and walks around with a solid fucking gold staff while lamenting the world's poor?

        Sorry, we dont need someone with a 13th century worldview telling us what to do. Between secular moralists, secular ethics boards, FDA, AMA, et al, we are doing fine thanks. Men in dresses who think they talk to the invisible men in the sky arent helping. In fact, historically they've only hurt society.

        • by Vexorian (959249) on Friday August 14, 2009 @08:46PM (#29072849)
          Holy ad hominem batman! Why did you jump on the defensive so fast? You know that you can agree with what the pope said in that paragraph and not necessarily be against condoms in Africa, right? I think that in this case he was completely right.
    • Well, if you let them treat you like that, you deserve it.

      Yes, you are expected to oppose it, even if you are the only one. (And you will quickly notice getting followers, if they see you being self-confident about it.)

    • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:00PM (#29070125)

      Not everything is a slippery slope. Not all technology leads to dystopia. In fact, these things are rare in an open society.

      For instance, if you read the article the two women get 6 hours a sleep nightly. Err, I do that, but I prefer 7. I dont need 8-9 as the article suggests. Sure, they probably get better sleep then I do and feel more refreshed, but you inserted that gene into me it wont lead into any big changes.

      This isnt exactly discovering a gene that can let us get by with 2 or 3 hours a night. Its shaving off maybe one. I wouldnt be surprised to find out that this gene really does fuck all for the average person.

    • That would require re-signing contracts. I for one would not agree to a contract requiring me to squander my new-found free time unless it came with a significant increase in pay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GooberToo (74388)

      Most studies already indicate a work week of 30 hours is roughly as productive as 40 hours for most workers. Extending the work week only creates more web browsing and porn at work, not to mention additional cost to business but not likely to actually be more productive.

      Meaning, for most workers, you're *lucky* to get six productive hours out of them every day.

  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) * on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:04PM (#29069339)
    Now we can look forward to 22 hour workdays. "You got your two hours of sleep you wuss!"
  • Queue the Nightman references.
  • by richg74 (650636) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:06PM (#29069359) Homepage
    If I can spend a lot less time sleeping, just think of all the cool stuff I can do:
    • Watch all the really worthwhile programs on TV
    • Listen to politicians trade lies about health care
    • Read more blogs, so I can learn more about abnormal psychology

    On second thought, is slitting my wrists an option?

  • Define "manage" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:06PM (#29069373)

    What exactly does "manage" mean? Does that mean you actually are more efficient and your body works just as well with less sleep? Or does it mean your brain functions better when tired... or that you don't actually GET tired? Or does it simply mean you can go longer before you burn out completely. Or whatever.

    "Managing" and being "productive" are quite different... and subjective.

    • by eln (21727) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:14PM (#29069479) Homepage
      Speaking from personal experience, it's that yu dnt knead as much sleap...for exmpl, I don't need as much sleep ass othres dew...I meen, Ive been up for almstr 3 dys straight, and i;m stll operatig at peak form,,,my mind is stll sharp, and safdgege ewMONKEYS!!#@! Sorry about that, I thnk I blcked out for a secnd...what was I talking abt...oh right, ppl who say yu need to sleep EVERY DAY r full of sht.
      • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:18PM (#29069519) Journal

        I nominate you for Slashdot Editor.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by bwintx (813768)

        Speaking from personal experience, it's that yu dnt knead as much sleap...for exmpl, I don't need as much sleep ass othres dew...I meen, Ive been up for almstr 3 dys straight, and i;m stll operatig at peak form,,,my mind is stll sharp, and safdgege ewMONKEYS!!#@! Sorry about that, I thnk I blcked out for a secnd...what was I talking abt...oh right, ppl who say yu need to sleep EVERY DAY r full of sht.

        What's really sad is that it would take three tweets to include that.

    • I think it's more efficient sleep. You get rested in less time.

      Reminds me of a Sci Fi novel in which an astronaut had an AI optimizing algorithm programmed into his brain. The theory was that your brain does a sort of garbage collection and reset process while you're sleeping. With the AI, he gradually started needing less and less sleep and eventually didn't need sleep at all because it was happening while he was awake. I'm not suggesting that this extreme is practical, but the idea might be in the right b

  • Anyone with access to the paper know if they analyzed the naturally short sleepers for lack of benefits from sleeping [wikipedia.org]? An immune system deficiency? Metabolism rate? Increased food intake? Accelerated aging? Memory and learning issues? Biomass, muscle & organ development?

    I'm not a biologist and I don't know what sleep durations are for other mammals but the scientist in me wonders why we settled out at eight hours a day if we are more vulnerable with our eyes closed. You would think it performs pretty important functions (or did perform) for the 5 percent of short sleepers not to collect more food and proliferate more efficiently and more frequently than the other 95% 8 hour sleepers. Perhaps in times of famine or disease this 5% are more susceptible and since we no longer have them they are freed from these shackles? Perhaps (since the two subjects noted were ages 40 and 70) this only becomes apparent with the onset of age that we never made it to back in the day? Any other ideas?
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:09PM (#29069405) Journal

      I came here to make a similar remark. A mutation like this would seem to be highly beneficial. Wouldn't you expect to see more of it in the population if it didn't have some downside to it?

      • by Whorhay (1319089)
        You could ask the same question in regards to why we don't have sensory organs to detect in the Infrared spectrum like pit vipers do. It would certainly have been an evolutionary edge. The answer is probably that what we have developed is good enough.
      • by phorm (591458) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:33PM (#29069735) Journal

        I wonder about the average level of sleep we get nowadays, how much we need as we age, sanity issues, and more.

        At the moment, sleep deprivation can lead to some nasty psychological issues. It says that the mice "recovered quicker from periods of sleep deprivation compared with regular mice", but does that mean that they just jumped to work quicker and less sluggishly, how about mental health? I'm guessing it becomes a quality VS quantity issue. I know that when my allergies act up, I don't breathe as well, and even though I sleep slightly longer durations I feel less rested than less sleep with clear sinuses. The breathing issues would then cause sleep-apnea [wikipedia.org] related issues.

        Another thing I would like to see here is the "depth of sleep", such as REM, etc. If the gene actually modifies it so that the mice hit an optimal sleep depth more quickly, that might more sense. I've often found that if I consistently go without enough sleep I get sluggish, but sometimes if I really wear myself down, stay up really late, and then hit the sack when I'm just about ready to drop, I sleep *EXTREMELY* deeply and feel more rested on 3-4h of sleep than 7-8 hours. On people that get by very well on low sleep, I'd be willing to bet they measure a noticeably different EEG frequency (and possibly other factors such as blood-oxyen level), with a pattern more like a sharper curve towards deep sleep.

        This would indicate a "quality" issue rather than a quantity. It would also make sense in an evolutionary sense. Yes, longer sleep means perhaps a longer duration of potential vulnerability, but a longer less-deep sleep be trading depth for recoverability.
        E.G. if a large predator comes stomping up when you're at level 5/10 sleep, then you have a good chance of waking up and getting the f*** out of there even though you're out for approx 8h. Alternately, if you're out for a 3h super-nap, and at 9/10 depth for most of that, perhaps the potential for being gobbled up during that period is greatly increased?

      • Not necessarily. For a mutation to spread throughout the population it has to give its host a greater chance of breeding. People who sleep less may be able to achieve more in their lives, but it doesn't obviously follow that they will have more children. Even if they have 10% more children, on average, than people without the mutation, then it will take a very long time for this mutation to spread to the majority of the population (and that's assuming that the children all inherit the gene...).
      • Sleeping less doesn't increase your odds/ability to reproduce (at least, not significantly).

        There is a mistaken idea about natural selection that it will always take any traits that are objectively "good". It doesn't. Only traits that can improve/reduce your ability to reproduce are affected. Any traits that don't affect the ability to reproduce tend to stick around forever, regardless of their perceived advantage/disadvantage.

        • by hoggoth (414195)

          I'm pretty sure that being able to hunt, farm, build, and look out for predators for an extra few hours every day would enable you to stay alive long enough to reproduce more than the average cave man.

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        It's not the advantage you think.

        Lowered survivability in the long term offsets the superficial advantages.

        I've never needed more than about 4 hours of sleep a night, my wife is a mess if she gets less than 8.

        I can say from my field experiments, that some days (particularly where we both only get about 5-6 hours, but it's REALLY evident after several nights of short-sleep due to babies or whatever) she's far more likely to murder me.

        Even if she doesn't kill me, the likelihood that my progeny will survive or

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        Being awake at night, and especially gathering food, puts you in competition with nocturnal animals. If you don't have a mutation to see better at night, or hear better, or something like that, it's probably going to expose to you more danger than you would get at night.

        A species that can somehow spend 8 hours asleep without getting eaten won't find additional benefit from working at night. If we had more predators that liked eating sleeping people, it would be a quick and obvious benefit.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:23PM (#29069601) Homepage

      Uh... perhaps it's simply that it's beneficial to sleep (and use less energy) whenever you're not doing anything else? We sleep for about 8 hours because in equatorial Africa, there's about 8 hours of darkness when us vision oriented fruit-and-vegetarians monkeys can't find anything to eat or screw - I mean, who likes waking up in the morning next to a half eaten poison pear, or worse yet, a fugly skank monkey?

      • I mean, who likes waking up in the morning next to a half eaten poison pear, or worse yet, a fugly skank monkey?

        How did you know about last Saturday morning?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Yeah, those thoughts were the first that came to mind. Sleep is a big deal for so many proven reasons and so many slightly understood reasons. But I guess one reason we'd sleep for so long would be to conserve energy in a more natural environment with limited food.

      My wife's immune system seems to be ridiculously strong, but maybe it's partly due to the fact that she always gets plenty of sleep and if she starts feeling slightly sick she sleeps an extra couple of hours that night/day.

      Regarding the vulnerable

    • You would think it performs pretty important functions (or did perform) for the 5 percent of short sleepers not to collect more food and proliferate more efficiently and more frequently than the other 95% 8 hour sleepers.

      I suspect that our current sleep requirements are the product of balancing a lot of trade-offs, and it might not be wise to tamper with it (any more than we already do with coffee and alarm clocks) until we know what more of those trade-offs are. I'm sure there's some dystopian fiction waiting to be written about engineering ourselves into a state where the species wouldn't be viable in the natural world any more.

      Of course, I rather like the idea that laziness and/or the desire to sleep in has some underly

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      It could be a recent mutation which has not had the opportunity to propagate substantially. (How many hours a day do primates sleep?)

      I imagine something like this would, like most mutations, be regressive, and therefore take a fairly long time to reach critical/substantial momentum.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      You would think it performs pretty important functions (or did perform) for the 5 percent of short sleepers not to collect more food and proliferate more efficiently and more frequently than the other 95% 8 hour sleepers.

      A primitive human is highly unlikely to be ABLE to gather food after it gets dark, no matter how awake and alert he may be. Darkness is like that. Not to mention that there aren't many nocturnal big game species anywhere in the world even after fire had been discovered.

      So, since you aren'

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fallingcow (213461)

      Anectdote:

      A friend of mine feels fine on 5 hours a night, and can do that indefinitely. 6 is a really, really restful 9 to him. He can't even force himself to do 8 hours unless he's been up more than 24. Sounds about like the people in the study--no coffee or anything like that necessary, he simply doesn't need or even want more sleep than that.

      Bastard gets so much done. It's amazing how much extra reading/video-game-playing/movie watching you can get done with an extra 2-3 hours every day, in the early

      • by hiryuu (125210)

        Interesting - your friend sounds an awful lot like me, though I'm a shade older (mid thirties). I'm 5'6, have a high metabolism, and wake up automatically at the 5.5 hour mark regardless of when I go to sleep. I've been this way since junior high school, possibly earlier. I never sleep more than six hours unless I've been up for at least 24 hours straight, and I've managed to stay awake for up to 74 hours previously. I don't drink anything caffeinated - no coffee, soda, tea, etc. I read about this stud

    • Or it could be that they have other mutated/different genes that somehow circumvent these issues. The more genes you'd need to pass on, the harder it would be to pass it on and become the norm.

      I suppose if they have kids, they would provide some answers if they consented to DNA testing and study.

    • I'm not saying that I have the mutation, but I rarely need more than 6 hours of sleep each night.

      That's not some self-imposed deprivation. It's just the way I'm wired and I've been that way my whole life.

      My immune system seems to be great. I rarely get sick, even when others around me are dropping like flies from the flu or whatever bug is going around.

      I have a highly suppressed metabolism. Too much so. I have to constantly live on a calorie starved diet and I have to get, at least, 90 minutes of vigorous e

  • Age related? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by infinite9 (319274) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:06PM (#29069381)

    I wonder what their sleep patters were like when they were teenagers. When I was in high school, I needed at least 10 hours, and preferred 12. Now that I'm almost 40, I can easily operate on 3 or 4 hours, routinely get 6, and sleeping in on saturday is 8 or 9.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      How much caffeine do you drink per day? I think a lot of the disparity is due to the fact that we (rightly) keep younger people from using caffeine and other stimulants.

      The researchers in the article specifically pointed out that though a lot of people regularly get by with 6 hours of sleep, they do this using stimulants, not an innate propensity for less sleep.

    • Why do people brag about their chronic sleep deprivation as if it were cool. Especially geeks.
      It's like saying "I can easily operate without half my fingers and toes that I lost because of the stupid shit I did."

      Try operating on 8 to 9 hours of sleep on average. You will feel like a total genius compared to now! And be able to do 8 hours of work in less than fours. How about that? Have you ever thought about that, or are you not able to do that anymore?

  • "Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sheep"?

  • no thanks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:08PM (#29069403)
    Yeah that's just what we need; a legitimate excuse for employers to work people more.
  • Jolt (Score:3, Funny)

    by NES HQ (1558029) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:13PM (#29069463)
    Can we call it the Jolt Cola mutation?
  • by drunken_boxer777 (985820) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:13PM (#29069465)

    They ... found a mother and daughter who were naturally short sleepers. The women routinely function on about 6 hours of sleep a night; the average person needs 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep.

    âoeWhen they wake up in morning, they feel they have slept enough,â Dr. Fu said.

    These women feel they've had enough sleep, but that doesn't mean that they are fully rested and recovered from their previous day's activities. While I don't have access to the journal article, I would be interested in seeing whether mice or flies with the homologous mutation have shorter life spans or other problems that accrue over longer periods of time.

    • That had crossed my mind as well.

      I know a number of people who insist they don't need more than a few hours of sleep, but I don't buy it. I've even thought that about myself occasionally, but that's mainly because I regularly go so long without a full night's sleep that I forget what it feels like to really utilize my brain.

      Interesting stuff and I wouldn't mind being able to function effectively on less sleep, but I'm a bit skeptical at this point.

  • by juancnuno (946732) * <juancnuno@gmail.com> on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:14PM (#29069475)
    Thai Ngoc [wikipedia.org] or Hai Ngoc (born 1942) is a Vietnamese insomniac.
  • 6 hours unusual? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by citylivin (1250770) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:14PM (#29069477)

    "They then worked back to find out who provided the samples and found a mother and daughter who were naturally short sleepers. The women routinely function on about 6 hours of sleep a night; the average person needs 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep."

    A great documentary about this subject was from the Horizon program, entitled The Secret Life of Your Bodyclock [bbc.co.uk]. One of the things that they stated was some peoples body clocks run on different cycles. I believe they had examples of a 32 hour "day" clock and a 22 hour one and the differences that this placed on the subjects.

    The comment that i wanted to make was that there are probably lots of people who do not fit into the 24 hour lifestyle that we are forced into. The secret life of your bodyclock was very eye opening. They had all sorts of great stats on why you shouldn't exercise in the morning, that you should always consume alcohol between 6-8pm (local time) and a great section on why teenagers hate getting up. Its well worth the watch if you can find it somehow.... [mininova.org]

    • why you shouldn't exercise in the morning

      Now I'm very curious. Everything I've read indicates that morning excercise is a great idea, especially since cardio work on an empty stomach helps burn fat and kick starts your metabolism for the day. It seems to work great for me.

      Perhaps I'll give that documentary a watch, it sounds interesting.

  • Da Vinci (Score:2, Interesting)

    Maybe ol' Leonardo had this. I hear tell of him sleeping only in short bursts so he could have more time to do awesome shit.
  • I was really interested in sleep stuff when I was in college. A bunch of friends and I started a club called the "8 Year Club". We figured out that if we could train ourselves to work with just 4 hours of sleep per night, we could gain back 8 years of extra "life". We were really excited about this and figured that if we could support each other, we'd be able to get through the tough part and make it a real habit in our lives. We stopped after about a week.
    • by Whorhay (1319089)
      I remember reading something in my Psychology class in college where some study showed that a person could get by on four hours of sleep a night. That is provided that they properly trained their system to rapidly fall into REM sleep patterns. One of the details I remember was that the subjects had to slowly work their sleep time down, a minute or two at a time. Trying to do it suddenly didn't seem to work and led to plenty of bad side affects of sleep deprivation.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      I tried a similar experiment in college. Wanted to see how long I could go without any sleep whatsoever. Well, it was exams week and I had four tough classes, so that contributed to the urgency of the experiment. I've never needed a LOT of sleep anyway, so I wanted to see how long I could sustain a constant waking state.

      Anyway, what I discovered at the time was that I could function pretty well for about 5 days with no sleep. As long as I got plenty of water and ate well (healthy foods, no "quick burn"

  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:17PM (#29069501) Homepage

    The 2 people with the mutation work as a movie projectionist and a banquet waiter in a luxury hotel.

  • Sign me up! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:20PM (#29069553) Homepage Journal

    I have a co-worker who only needs 4 hours, He was actually studied in college for health issues, its amazing how much this guy can get done when only needs 4 hours sleep. Also beats the commute into work by coming in really early, while the rest of us are sleeping.

    Myself, 9 is good for me. I'd love to be able to only need 4 and wake up wide awake and in good health.

    As long as my boss doesnt make me work 16 hour days, sign me up.

    • How old is he now? Who knows how his body will react when he's 50 or 60?

      Regarding the commute, anyone can do that, more or less. Just need to go to bed 4 hours earlier. ;)

  • by joeyblades (785896) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:21PM (#29069575)

    I regularly rely on less than 6 hours of sleep per night
    with generally no impairment in waking function.

    I've been like this my whole life.

    • But does your brain function as well as it could if you got 8-9 hours of sleep?

      I get 6 or less hours of sleep a night without drinking caffeine or getting sick, but that doesn't mean I should be doing that.

  • Bah, if only people realised that sleep was an addictive habit and could be eliminated altogether through sheer willpower alone! My years of research provide 140% proof of that:

    http://www.skytopia.com/project/articles/sleep.html [skytopia.com]

  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:29PM (#29069693) Homepage

    ... I have the power to control time - bedtime!

  • Due to a well-placed line-break, I saw in the summary: "the shortened sleep effect was replicated in mouse and fruit." That really had me wondering how on Earth they tested this.
  • by SolarStorm (991940) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:35PM (#29069765)
    The genetic mutation is called children. Guarentees less sleep for the parents.
  • Because from what I have seen, this is a non-circumventable rule.

    Also I would recomment long-term checks (20 years minimum) for becoming crazy, dumbing down, other health issues, or just being less clear in the brain in the long term.

  • by Werrismys (764601) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:44PM (#29069891)
    Read Beggars in Spain.
    What if, suddenly there were ppl with practically 33% more lifespan? More time every day to train sports, science, whatever - even work? No chance one of them attending chess games, olympic games or similar.

    It would lead to them being outcasts as long as they were in minority.

  • First we have some scientist doubling the lifespan of flies [scientificamerican.com] now they won't sleep? Why are they trying to create immortal sleepless flies? Please somebody stop them!

    I, for one, won't welcome them...

  • There is a term called Polyphasic Sleep [wikipedia.org] in which you sleep for something like 15-20 minutes at a time every 4 hours. Apparently it takes quite a long time to get adjusted to, but the idea is that you force your body to immediately enter REM sleep. [wikipedia.org]

    It sounds crazy, but maybe the people who have been able to adapt to a Polyphasic sleeping schedule (most notably, someone named Steve Pavlina [wikipedia.org]) are the people are have this gene mutation already, thus requiring less sleep? I have certainly tried this polyphasic s
  • With only 2 people identified with the mutation, I wouldn't be willing to consider it a positive trait yet. We don't know what else this mutation may have changed for these people - if for example it were to reduce life expectancy in a significant manner I think I would prefer to sleep.

    We need more individuals to study to determine the full effect of this mutation.
  • Maybe they simply live well-rounded lives and don't toss and turn all night worrying about the next day. Do they run themselves down every day? How are their dreams?

    Point being, two genes in two people is an easy coincidence weighed against the vast sea of conditional variables that effect us all. For myself, if I spend a day doing relatively nothing I wake up somewhat naturally the next morning on 6 hours. If I go all day non-stop, then I can sleep for 12 hours.

    If sleep is when our bodies recover, th
  • by RexDevious (321791) on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:16PM (#29070383) Homepage Journal

    The story of Red-Eye, who battles evil by hoping they'll nod off before he does.

  • ...there's always caffeine.

    Cheers,
    Dave

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