It is believed that all people are divided into “owls” and"Larks" on the principle of how late they go to bed. Among these “little birds”, people who do not fall under any of the definitions stand out especially. The fact is that they have a lifelong tendency to sleep only four to six hours a day. And no, they do this not because of necessity, but according to their biological rhythms. Studies have shown that some people have acquired this feature due to a mutation in the ADRB1 gene.
Why are people divided into “owls” and “larks”?
Did you know that the division into “owls” and “larks”didn’t it go by accident? Biologists have found that such a separation is nothing more than the true heritage of our distant ancestors. In addition, such a pattern in the behavior of individuals could even carry certain evolutionary advantages. So, in order not to be unexpectedly attacked by enemies, our ancestors were forced to go to bed not all together, but separately, which ultimately led to the division of people into groups with different sleep and wakefulness modes.
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Exploring the diurnal rhythms of modern AfricanThe nationalities leading the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the researchers concluded that the average sleep time in such communities is about 6 and a half hours a day. In other words, 8-hour sleep is an invention of recent times, when humanity began to move to a more settled lifestyle. This fact breaks down the myth that the division of people into “larks” and “owls” appeared at a time when ancient people began to use artificial lighting.
Why do some people sleep 4 hours a day and feel awake?
In 2009, Ying-Hui Fu, a professor of neurology inUniversity of California, San Francisco, discovered that the genes of people who only need about 4 hours to rest contain a particular mutation in the gene that usually helps regulate circadian rhythms.
Despite the fact that we usually have a restit takes about 7-8 hours, many famous people spent less than 5 hours a day sleeping. This ability was possessed by the “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, who completely got enough sleep in 4-5 hours, besides her, the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the inventor of the bulb Thomas Edison possessed a unique ability.
It is now impossible to say exactly how and why a mutation occurs in the ADRB1 gene, just as it is impossible to find out whether all the above-mentioned personalities were carriers of such a mutation.
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Experience carried out on mice by a teamResearchers from the University of California, show that those animals that were carriers of the mutated ADRB1 gene slept much less than their usual relatives.
According to the study, the ADRB1 gene is located inthe spinal cord of animals and is active even during wakefulness, as well as during the REM phase. The authors note that although this recently discovered mutated gene contributes to short sleep, it is probably not the only one. Most likely, in our body there are special areas of the brain that tell our bodies when we should go to bed and get up in the morning.