For most people, about eight hours of sleep a day is a necessity. When we miss out on sleep, we find ourselves dragging, worn out, and unable to function. However, some people have a genetic mutation that allows them to fully function on less sleep than the rest of us.

Superhero parents take a moment to rest on a couch


People who are able to function on less sleep get this ability from a mutation in the gene hDEC2, which regulates sleep. It allows people to sleep just four hours or so, then wake up fully refreshed. This gives them a competitive advantage and allows them to accomplish more things in a day than the rest of us. These people are able to hold down a second job, have more time for hobbies, or even maintain a cleaner house than the rest of us.

However, the true mutation is actually quite rare: researchers have identified less than 30 people who have it. So although they may be the next stage in human evolution, they are not ready to dominate us yet.

Are You a Mutant or Just Making Do?

Many of us “get by” on less than an optimal amount of sleep. However, few of us are actually able to fully function with four or five hours of sleep. Here are some signs that you may be a super sleeper:

  • Wake up spontaneously, without an alarm clock, after four or five hours of sleep
  • Don’t rely on caffeine to get going in the morning
  • Don’t need alcohol or sleeping pills to fall asleep
  • Don’t feel tired and sleepy all day

If this describes you, you might just be a sleep mutant. You may want to contact neurologists that study the phenomenon.

However, most people that wake up “naturally” in the middle of the night are suffering from a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea , which causes them to wake up. You may take advantage of this by trying to get some extra work done, but your body isn’t truly adapted to this schedule. You probably rely heavily on coffee and other stimulants to get through the day and may need help getting to sleep at night. Although you may enjoy benefits in the short-term, over the long run, you face serious risks, including cardiovascular illness and mental health problems.

For help understanding and overcoming your sleeping problems, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha, Nebraska.