Wake up! I bring you the latest news about sleep. Have you heard of elite sleepers?
They sound awesome. And if sleep's been recognised as an Olympic sport, prepare the podium - I'm a gold medallist.
Sorry to burst your snooze bubble, but it's highly unlikely you are an elite sleeper.
But I just notched up a solid 12 uninterrupted hours! I am an ultra-marathon sleeper.
Elite sleepers slumber less, not more. Typically, they can function well on less than six hours sleep a night.
Oh, those people. TED-talking bores bragging how they simultaneously built a company, raised four kids and achieved their #lifegoals on just four hours sleep a night ... it's the stuff of my nightmares.
This will cheer you up: elite sleepers are a rare anomaly - just three percent of the world's population, in fact. A study from neurologists at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), has just unveiled the results of 10 years of research sequencing the genomes of these 'familial natural short sleepers.' They share a genetic mutation enabling them to sleep less without negative health consequences.
Not super-human, then?
Nope. But the study discovered they're a specific personality type with certain shared traits.
Around 90 to 95 per cent of elite sleepers studied had type-A personalities, with high ambition, exceptional memory, higher pain threshold and less susceptibility to jetlag.
Oh. Super-human after all. Suddenly I feel like crawling back under the covers.
Take heart. Elite sleepers might help us all. The science on cognitive decline shows we mere mortals need at least eight hours sleep for the brain to complete its essential nightly clean-up to remove build-ups of harmful proteins linked to dementia in later life. But brains of elite sleepers refresh themselves in far less time, and perhaps more effectively, too. In short, their sleep is briefer, but more beneficial. Elite sleepers have shown more resistance to neurodegenerative disease, and scientists believe further study of their genetic mutation might hold the keys to slowing the progression of neuro nasties such as Alzheimer's disease.
Nice. Thanks, elite sleepers! While you all save the world, I'll hit the snooze button.
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