Lack of sleep is not necessarily fatal for flies

phys.org | 2/20/2019 | Staff
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Male flies kept awake do not die earlier than those allowed to sleep, leading researchers to question whether sleep, in flies at least, is essential for staying alive.

The team behind the research, from Imperial College London, suggest that for flies sleep may not perform a vital biological function in the way that food does.

Underpinnings - Food—we - Calories - Order - Cells—the

While we know the biological underpinnings of food—we need to take in calories in order to fuel our cells—the same is not true for sleep. Sleep deprivation is known to cause severe problems with cognition, memory, attention and reflexes, for example, but it is not clear whether lack of sleep alone actually causes animals to die.

Previous experiments have shown that some animals die when deprived of sleep, but the studies are unclear about exactly why this is. The researchers behind the new study suggest that the way the experiments were run could mean the animals died of stress due to the methods of keeping them awake.

Experiments - Fruit - Flies - Researchers - Male

Now, in experiments with several thousand fruit flies, the researchers have shown that male flies denied sleep do not die earlier than those who have regular sleep. Their results, published today in Science Advances, show that female flies die on average three days earlier out of a 40-50-day average lifespan.

In an initial study monitoring average sleep duration of flies, the team found some individuals that naturally slept for as little as 5-15 minutes per day, compared to a normal range of several hours a day.

Dr - Giorgio - Gilestro - Department - Life

Dr. Giorgio Gilestro, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: One of the reasons sleep is considered essential for life is that all animals sleep, so we were surprised to find some flies that needed so little. We wanted to find out if this was just a peculiarity for a lucky few flies, or whether it...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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