Although this was clearly more than just narcolepsy, it was possible that the constellation of symptoms was due to a small genetic alteration that included both a narcolepsy-causing gene and a mitochondrial gene located close by on the same chromosome.
As a self-confessed nocturnal who can blame it on genetics, I proudly declare my solace from the quiet of the night. I love hearing the whir of the refrigerator in the kitchen and the hoot of the barn owl in our fields.
Understanding more about how sleep affects genetic function holds great promise in illuminating these pathways and could open important new avenues for both treatment and prevention of illness and disease.
Are you a lark, someone who likes being up and active in the early morning? Or are you a night owl, someone who tends to wake later and perhaps gains energy and focus as the day progresses, someone who likes to work (and play) in the evening hours?
It's all too common for people to shrug off their episodes of insomnia, to do their best to function and cope. This kind of "power through" strategy is rampant in our busy world, but there's no real escape from the consequences that insomnia can bring.
The study by Krystal and Edinger overcame the shortcomings of previous studies by examining a large number of people (128), a large variety of different firmness of mattresses (seven), and a large number of nights on each mattress (four weeks).
I was really pleased to read this study. Its findings confirm what I have repeatedly seen in my own practice (and family): kids are very adaptable, especially when it comes to how and where (and with whom) they fall and stay asleep.
A group of studies, all conducted independently, have reached a similar sobering conclusion: Sleep problems -- including several common sleep difficulties faced by millions of people on a regular basis -- may, over time, lead to cognitive impairment and even dementia.