Have you ever noticed that some people just absolutely need a midday nap while others can power through an entire day of work with only having had a couple hours of sleep? Well, science has just confirmed that it might all be based on genetics.
How was the study carried out?
To conduct the study, scientists gathered information from 452,633 people to analyze their sleep patterns by looking into their genetic makeup.
After being asked a set of questions regarding their sleep behaviour a genome-wide association study (GWAS) was carried out to identity genetic variations associated with napping. Scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital found that some people are genetically more inclined to require more sleep than others. Dr. Hassan Dashti wrote:
Napping is somewhat controversial. It was important to try to disentangle the biological pathways that contribute to why we nap.
The three types of napping mechanism
And what they later found was that there are three potential napping mechanisms; the first two are called 'disrupted sleep' and 'early morning awakening' which concerns those who haven't had enough sleep during the night. As a result, they require naps to supplement their hours of rest.
The other napping mechanism is simply a genetic predisposition to requiring more sleep that scientists identified as sleep propensity. Dr Dashti explains that:
This tells us that daytime napping is biologically driven and not just an environmental or behavioural choice.
Other genetic traits that were found to influence the likelihood of requiring more sleep include health concerns such as, obesity and hight blood pressure. Iyas Daghlas from Harvard Medical school added that:
This pathway is known to be involved in rare sleep disorders like narcolepsy, but our findings show that smaller perturbations in the pathway can explain why some people nap more than others.