Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Feeling Sleepy Is All In Your Genes

Date:
October 18, 2007
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Genes responsible for our 24-hour body clock influence not only the timing of sleep, but also appear to be central to the actual restorative process of sleep. A new study identified changes in the brain that lead to the increased desire and need for sleep during time spent awake.

Genes responsible for our 24 hour body clock influence not only the timing of sleep, but also appear to be central to the actual restorative process of sleep, according to research published in BMC Neuroscience. The study identified changes in the brain that lead to the increased desire and need for sleep during time spent awake.

Related Articles


"We still do not know why we benefit from sleep, or why we feel tired when we are 'lacking' sleep, but it seems likely that sleep serves some basic biological function for the brain such as energy restoration for brain cells or memory consolidation." Explains Dr Bruce O'Hara of the University of Kentucky, one of the neuroscientists who conducted the research. "We have found that clock gene expression in the brain is highly correlated to the build-up of sleep debt, while previous findings have linked these genes to energy metabolism. Together, this supports the idea that one function of sleep is related to energy metabolism."

To explore the connection between the expression of clock genes and sleep, three inbred strains of mice with different genetic make-ups were utilized, and which had previously been shown to differ in their response to sleep deprivation by lead author, Dr. Paul Franken of Stanford University and Lausanne University. In this study, mice were first sleep deprived during the daytime period when mice normally sleep then allowed recovery sleep.

Changes in gene expression for three clock genes were examined throughout the brain during both phases. Clock gene expression generally increased the more the mice were kept awake and decreased when sleep was allowed, supporting that these genes play a role in the regulation of the need for sleep. Generally, the expression of the clock-genes Period-1 and Period-2, increased at a faster rate in mouse strains with the poorest quality of recovery sleep suggesting that the detailed dynamic changes in expression may underlie individual differences in sleep length and sleep quality. The changes in gene expression were also shown to occur in many different brain regions supporting the idea that sleep is a global brain function.

A handful of genes such as Period-1 and Period-2 have been shown previously to underlie our circadian rhythms (behavior and physiology that follow a 24 hour cycle). The major advantage of circadian rhythms is that they allow animals and plants to predict and prepare for periodic changes in the environment. The anticipatory increase in clock-gene expression may be, on a molecular level, an animal's preparation for activity.

Variations in clock genes may underlie rhythmic traits influencing our preferred wake-up time, but the clock genes' role in direct sleep regulation, as shown in this study, may also influence sleep duration and human performance with differing amounts of sleep. The research could also help shed light on the biology of mood disorders, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or bipolar disorder, that appear linked to both sleep and circadian rhythms.

Article: Paul Franken, Ryan Thomason, H. Craig Heller and Bruce F O'Hara, "A non-circadian role for clock-genes in sleep homeostasis: a strain comparison"  BMC Neuroscience (in press)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Feeling Sleepy Is All In Your Genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017194558.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2007, October 18). Feeling Sleepy Is All In Your Genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017194558.htm
BioMed Central. "Feeling Sleepy Is All In Your Genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071017194558.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins