The Chosen Few Who Think Sleep is a Waste of Time
Are you a short sleeper? Short sleepers are people who perceive sleep as a complete waste of time. It’s like something on their to do list that they just need to scratch out and get it over with. They stay up very late at night and wake up very early in the morning. They’re a mashup between owls and early birds. You can even add the worm to the mix (The early bird catches the worm). This is because the moment they get up, they’re already ready for action.
About 1 to 3% of the population can function on small amounts of sleep each night and still find it easy to perform well at work. Despite the lack of sleep, these people are also described as being highly ambitious, optimistic, energetic, adventurous and outgoing. Researchers have found that there’s a genetic basis for this.Several members of a family can actually be short sleepers. It can also start early in childhood. Children refuse to sleep in the afternoon and actually wake up in the morning before their parents do.
The study didn’t mention if short sleepers are top performers in their chosen fields. If you think about it, they do have more time to do more things. More often than not, the researchers observed that they engage in multitasking in order to accomplish many things in such a short amount of time.
Most of the short sleepers don’t notice that they’re one and therefore don’t participate in studies. They seldom go to sleep clinics. This is the reason why studies on these short sleepers are very hard to conduct. Experts think that these short sleepers experience hypomania. Hypomania (a mild form of mania) and is described as a persistently irritable or elevated mood that can last for at least four consecutive days. Can you imagine that?
I think the movie Patch Adams demonstrates a short sleeper in the person of the main character, Patch (played by Robin Williams). He was charged by the dean of school of medicine as having “excessive happiness”. You can see in the movie that he was able to accomplish many things simultaneously while achieving good grades. It seemed like he didn’t need to rest or sleep. He was also a fast talker with a lot of bright ideas. Setting his depressive episodes aside, he did manifest zeal and passion for life.
Are you loading up on caffeine and trying to be a short sleeper? Stop. The current perspective on short sleepers is that it can’t be taught. You can’t learn to be a short sleeper. Researchers believe that short sleepers have different biological clocks. More research is needed to study these wonderful subjects.
In 2009, a group of research scientists were observing and documenting the habits of two early birds (these are really birds and not humans okay?). They noticed in a nearby residence that a mother and her daughter had no difficulty waking up at 4am, when both of them went to bed way past midnight the night before. This puzzled the researchers and shifted their attention from birds to humans. By studying these early birds (mother and daughter), they discovered that the pair had a gene variation present in both of them (called hDEC2). Scientists now replicated the gene and introduced it into a strain of mice. To their surprise, the mice required less sleep and exhibited heightened activity.
Don’t go on the Internet and login to Youtube to record yourself telling the whole world that you’re a short sleeper just yet. There is no specific genetic test available to know if you’re one. Researchers speculate that there are several factors, which play different parts to produce a short sleeper. You may be surprised to know that history is full of suspected short sleepers from Leonardo Da Vinci (try watching an episode of Da Vinci’s Demons to have an idea) to Thomas Jefferson (author of the Declaration of Independence) and Benjamin Franklin (electricity).
Do you think you’re one of the chosen few (a short sleeper)? There’s an ongoing study happening right now regarding short sleepers. You may be one of the few subjects they’re looking for. For the rest of the world like us, sleep is zzz…
Alarm clock is set at 7am.