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As anyone who’s ever pulled an all-nighter can attest, sleep feels pretty essential to life. While the field of sleep science has long thought that animals and humans would die without sleep, a growing body of evidence is calling that assumption into question. A new study of fruit flies from researchers at Imperial College London provides further proof that sleep isn’t as necessary for life as previously surmised.
“It’s been thought that [the need for sleep] has a similar architecture” to the need for food, says study author Giorgio Gilestro, a systemic biologist at Imperial College London. But in this new study, Gilestro and colleagues found that male flies deprived of sleep lived as long as regular fruit flies, while female fruit flies also deprived of sleep died earlier, but only by an average of three days. Three days is about six to eight percent percent of the 40 to 50 day lifespan of a fruit fly.
Study - Methodology - Differs - Studies - Sleep
This study stands out because its methodology differs from other studies of sleep in fruit flies. “If the flies don’t actively walk, the commercial system that everybody else uses says they’re sleeping,” says Gilestro. But flies might be still for many reasons, like eating or cleaning themselves, not just sleep. His team designed a...
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