Wednesday, August 22, 2018
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Most of us are active during the day and lazy or sleepy during nights. Have you ever imagined why this happens? Have you noticed if we don’t have any work or entertainment source near us for just one hour, we start feeling bored or hungry. So why we don’t feel bored or hungry while we are sleeping for 8 long hours? That’s because our bowel movements and metabolic activity slows down during night.

 

Our hormone level and body temperature are also in control. Our body is in sync with the day night cycle and respond according to that. This cycle every creature follow, not only humans but all mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, even small living creatures like nematodes. This sleep wake cycle is known as circadian rhythm. But there is a difference in pattern and behaviour like some species of fishes sleep regularly and some doesn’t sleep at all. Sleep in some animals is difficult to detect, especially in those which are constantly moving, sleep can only be detected in them by less body movements, no response to the stimuli etc. We all follow this 24 hour cycle called circadian rhythm.

In 2017, Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young got Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery of molecular mechanism of circadian rhythm. They basically identified a protein called PER protein which is responsible for maintaining the sleep wake cycle according to the earth’s rotation. They have used the test organism as Drosophila Melanogaster. This is a fruit fly and is being used as a test organism since ages. In mimosa plant, similar experiment is performed. The leaves of this plant close during night and open during day time. Scientist keep that plant in complete darkness, then also it follows the same rhythmic cycle.

 

It is very important to follow this sleep wake cycle. If not followed properly it can harm our body. The most common example is jet lag that we suffer after travelling a time zone. This is just a temporary ailment but those who have night shift jobs or are somehow bound to be awake at night can suffer from depression, insomnia, hypertension and other such ailments. Sleep disorders could be lethal and many international celebrities suffered from that including Jim Cornell, Rihaana and Michael Jackson also suffered from that. Michael jackson in his last days was on a drug called propofin and hasn’t slept for 60 days. This drug makes you feel rejuvenated without having an actual sleep. This disrupted his routine life and also cause hallucination, forgetting things have become common even the lyrics of his song.

 

But identification of this molecular mechanism or we can say gene protein combination can make a significant impact in future researches. In future, we can cure sleep disorders and can easily find a way to change our sleep wake pattern if required.

 

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Priyanka Monga (SciComm)

But identification of this molecular mechanism or we can say gene protein combination can make a significant impact in future researches. In future, we can cure sleep disorders and can easily find a way to change our sleep wake pattern if required.

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