"I'll sleep when I'm dead," are the words spoken from a nocturnal firework who is much like myself, because she is my mother.
While I have enjoyed the privilege of freedom to create in the night, when the world around me is silent, I have wondered if there was something wrong with my lack of desire to sleep. The obsessive drive of creatives is something that feels natural to me, after all, I was raised in a household of artists.
The head artist of all, my grandmother Anne, hinted to a familial secret. A superpower and superior genetic gift, that's been circulating in the population undetected for years.
This is the rise of the Nocturnals.
It's every high achiever's dream; a genetic mutation that negates the effects of sleep deprivation, allowing some people to be natural short sleepers with facing the health risks that normally come with too little sleep!
Finally, I can not sleep soundly, without fearing that I will drop dead before 40 from sleep deprivation.
"These are not people who've trained themselves to wake up early. They're born this way," says Dr. Hui, a neurologist from UC San Fransisco who has spent 10 years researching sleep patterns. People who are naturally short sleepers tend to have high energy throughout the whole day, without out any adverse health effects associated with sleep deprivation.
In fact, for these genetically gifted bad sleepers, getting too much sleep has the opposite effect and leaves them feeling what they describe as "awful, groggy and out of sorts."
This stands out in a world where most people are chronically sleep deprived. If a person needs 8-9 hours of sleep but only gets 7, they're sleep deprived. They are more likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, dementia and weakened immune systems
Researchers have identified 2 genes related to short sleepers, DEC2 and ADRB1, which is exciting because with this information scientists can discover ways to help the sleep deprived masses benefit from less shut eye.