Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sleepiness Might Be in the Genes, Study Finds

No issue how little they sleep, some people can keep a skip in their step while others will yawn and struggle through the day. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that the reason could be in our genes.

Researchers found that healthy people with one particular genetic variant were normally sleepier than those without the gene. About 25 percent of the common public has the genetic variant, called DQB1 *0602, but only a little percentage of them actually suffer from sleep problems.

One person who has been told by his doctor that he may have this genetic difference is Robert Gibson, a 43-year-old machine shop supervisor in Milan, Illinois. Sleep is supposed to rejuvenate the body, but for Gibson, it can be anything but invigorating.

It would not be the only gene-linked sleep situation Gibson experiences; he already suffers from bouts of sleep paralysis, a disorder in which sufferers feel paralyzed as they fall asleep or as they wake up. Episodes can last a few seconds to a couple of minutes, but Gibson said the effects of the temporary paralysis seem to bog him down every day.

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