Thursday, December 1, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Can't get enough sleep?

Common wisdom says we need between 7 and 8 hours sleep every night to be fully rested and function at our best. This knowledge is so ubiquitous that the entire rhythm of our society is based on it. 8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of sleep. Repeat.

Obviously sleep patterns are not set in stone, and the amount of sleep we need varies depending on many different factors. The time of year, our age, our current health situation all impact how much sleep we need. Still, as a rule of thumb 8 hours sleep should be a good goal, right?

Are you one of the many people who sleep a full 8 hours and still feel like the alarm clock goes off two hours too early? Despite what the world would have you believe, that does not make you lazy. You might just be genetically programmed to sleep more

 For the first time, researchers have discovered a gene that determines how much sleep you need. A European study has found that the gene called ABCC9 comes in two different varieties. People with one type of ABCC9 genes typically needs a lot more sleep than people with the other variant of the gene.

The gene plays a role in how much energy is burned in the cells. The scientists were able to change the sleep patterns of fruit flies by blocking the ABCC9 gene. The findings also highlight a possible connection between need for sleep and metabolic syndrome.

So if 8 hours of sleep never seem to be enough do the sensible thing and listen to the real expert: your own body. You might just need more sleep than other people. If that is the case, turn in early and sleep late with a clear conscience. Getting enough good quality sleep is one of the most overlooked, but also most important, things you can do to improve your health.

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