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Morning Exam: How genes affect your sleep - KOAM TV 7

Morning Exam: How genes affect your sleep

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Your genes could play a role in how much sleep you get at night, according to a new study.

"They've done several studies about looking at different types of gene variations," said Susan Lutz, sleep lab and respiratory therapy manager at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg.

"They did a study with twins of the same gender. They found that one gene, or one twin with the gene variation, would actually sleep a little bit less than the other twin. When they sleep deprived them, the twin with the gene variation didn't need as much recovery time to sleep," Lutz said.

The question, Lutz said, is does that gene variation control only sleep duration or is it also responsible for some of the other problems that come with sleep deprivation, such as depression, diabetes, and hypertension?

"They did identify another gene that showed some people are actually able to sleep, say, four, five or six hours," Lutz said. "Normally, we need about seven to nine hours of sleep."

Lutz said people with that particular gene did not have any of the issues that were associated with shortened sleep duration or sleep deprivation.

"They are wondering what they do since they perform multiple functions," Lutz said. "They're basically just scratching the surface on sleep itself, which is very exciting."

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, the most common sleep abnormality, according to Lutz, you should see your physician.

"It has such a huge impact on people in their daily lives, in their attention spans, if they are able to drive to work safely, if they are able to perform their job correctly, plus all the health issues that are associated with sleep deprivation" Lutz said.

Circadian rhythm disturbances are the next most common sleep disorder, according to Lutz.

"We tend to live by our clock, and we don't live by our biological clock, necessarily. We need to be doing some things ourselves proactively before we go to bed, such as turn off electronic devices, try to establish a bedtime routine and try to keep a very consistent sleep schedule so that you can get the amount of sleep that you need," Lutz said.

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