Sleep, which is defined as a recurring state of mind by altered consciousness, is undoubtedly important for a human being's survival. While the reason behind an individual's need for sleep remains unknown, a full night of rest provides many benefits. Sleep for one helps in keeping the brain properly functioning. During sleep, the brain prepares for the next day. It forms new pathways that would be understanding and sustaining new information. Moreover, sleep deficiency can also alter a person's overall behavior and emotions. People who lack sleep tend to be angrier and more impulsive. They have more mood swings and may feel sad and depressed.
Sleep is also instrumental in maintaining optimum physical health. It regulates blood pressure and sugar levels. Lacking sleep can cause an increased risk of hear disease, kidney disease, diabetes and stroke.
While it is advised for an individual to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night, some can subsist on only a couple of hours without feeling sluggish or tired. These outliers have long baffled scientists. Thankfully a group of researchers have recently uncovered what could be the cause of varying sleep patterns.
According to researchers for the University of California San Francisco, sleeping behavior is usually determined by a person's genes. Not only is it a factor on the duration of sleep but genetics also influences a person's timing of sleep and the reaction to sleep deprivation.
"Some of our sleep behavior is genetic. Just like many other traits - height, weight, body shape - sleep behavior is at least partly inherited," explained Ying-Hui Fu from the UCSF in a recent Reddit AMA.
Ying-Hui Fu have since suggested a simple way to cope with the need for longer sleep. She explains that despite the person's need for more sleep, it is still best to listen to one's body.
"I think that right now, the best way is still to listen to your body and figure out what is the best schedule and duration for yourself" quipped Fu.