My dad is what is considered a "short sleeper." He and one of his brothers (probably many of his siblings, actually). This is, apparently, a rare and lucky thing to be. He functions very well on 5 hours of sleep. Weekend mornings from childhood through teenagehood were punctuated with my dad's voice pummeling through my early morning sleep, "Get up. You're wasting your life away." I have never known him to sleep past 6am. He is one of the most voracious readers and productive people I know. I guess he has the advantage of more waking hours.
Well, he is being studied. A researcher at the University of Utah is conducting research on short sleepers and the potential genetic component of this phenomenon. The researcher not only wanted to study my dad, but a few of his children as well. Although there is no way in the whole world that I am a short sleeper (I am falling asleep by 10pm most nights, can hardly make it through a movie and function best on 9 hours of sleep), it is fruitful to study children in genetics. So, three of my siblings and I are using gadgets to chart our sleep and answering questionnaires and being interviewed by this researcher. I hope that I will pass on the short sleep gene to one of my children as remuneration for my efforts (although I hope it won't kick in until after babyhood and night wakings).
In any case, the other day I was filling in one of the questionnaires for the study. Some of the questions were puzzling - gauging things like feelings of worthlessness, indecision, punishment feelings, loss of pleasure, guilty feelings, sex drive - which I guess is all related to and wrapped up in sleep. I dutifully checked the boxes and even filled in extra commentary for the researchers to give them as much color as might be helpful in understanding my current sleeping patterns. I did this at work, where I have a few extra minutes here and there to sit down and concentrate. I scanned it. I came back to my desk and emailed it off to the researchers. Later, in communicating with a colleague at a partner bank, I sent an attachment. What I thought was the same spreadsheet I update and send daily was, in fact, a special treat for this banking friend. He now has a lot more "color" on me. I hope it improves our daily interactions. Ha! Awful.