A sleepless fish study may help us stay up all night
A sleepless fish may be the answer to our all-nighter needs.
As wonderful as sleep may be, there are times when we feel it to be highly inconvenient. From studying for tests to wanting to stay up at the rave, there are times we hate our need to sleep.
Yes, there are multiple ways to curb this natural need, but they aren’t healthy.
What if all-nighter’s could become nothing to lose sleep over?
A team of neuroscientists at Florida Atlantic University aim to do just that by studying the Mexican Tetra, which resulted in “the first evidence of genetic and neuronal changes that contribute to the evolution of sleep loss”.
Party all day, party all night
The thing about the Tetra is that there are two populations of this species: The blind cave-dwelling all-nighter species, and the sun-seeking 8-hour-sleeping surface dweller.
The difference between the two populations is the presence and prevalence of a neuropeptide called Hypocretin (HCRT), found in the cave fish.
Lead author on the paper and neuroscientist Alex Keene said:
“There are all sorts of drugs to help induce sleep, or keep people awake. The interesting thing about cavefish is they appear to be healthy despite dramatic sleep loss. If we understand why, it might be possible to develop novel stimulants without the negative consequences that typically accrue with sleep loss.”
Other animals that harness sleeplessness include Giraffes, Dolphins, Elephants, Bullfrogs, Alpine Swifts, Walruses’ and Orca calves- mostly an evolutionary tool to survive against lurking predators or for the Swift so that it can travel far distances.
The sleepless fish study surrounding the cave-dwelling Mexican Tetra may soon help humans rave throughout the night, without causing harm- gotta love Science!