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Science AMA Series: I’m Ying-Hui Fu, I study the genetics of sleep at UCSF. My lab discovered a gene that makes some people more efficient sleepers, needing only 4-6 hours per night. AMA!
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There are two things I consider more important than sleep: air and water. We spend more time sleeping than engaging in any other single activity, but we know very little about how day-to-day sleep behavior is regulated. My lab uses human genetics to gain a better understanding on this topic. We’ve found that sleep behavior is heavily influenced by our genetic makeup. Just like many other traits — height, weight, body shape — sleep behavior is at least partly inherited. In 2009, we discovered a mutation in the DEC2 gene that allows some people to sleep only four to six hours a night and feel completely refreshed. We study such efficient sleepers in hopes to understand why sleep is so important! Ask me anything about how genes affect sleep and why we need to pay attention to sleep! Here’s my lab at UCSF Here’s a recent UCSF article about the impact of sleep-deprivation: Short Sleepers Are Four Times More Likely to Catch a Cold Here’s a BBC article about the sleep gene, The People Who Need Very Sleep I will be back at 1 pm ET (10 am PT, 5 pm UTC) to answer your questions, AMA! EDIT: Good morning everyone. Thanks for all the great questions and lets get to the answers! EDIT: Thanks for all the great questions. I enjoyed it very much. I am signing off!