A Metro news report explores the research of Dr Ying-Hui Fu who is investigating the link between sleep and genetics.

Whatever the body does during sleep is critical for health. Long-term health consequences of chronic sleep deprivation include an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, depression and dementia. But short sleepers are seemingly exempt.

“They can do this, lifelong, without paying any price,” says Dr. Ying-Hui Fu, a geneticist and professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, who studies natural short sleepers. Fu believes genes, not habits or wishes, determine the need for sleep.

“A lot of people say, ‘I trained myself to do this,’” says Fu, who gets seven hours of sleep but prefers eight. “Maybe they can do that for 20 years but then develop this problem or that problem. They often don’t even know it’s because they’re chronically sleep-deprived.”

View the full story at www.metronews.ca