A genetic research robot has helped scientists discover a new molecule, dubbed "longdaysin," that has potent effects on the biological clock, potentially leading to new treatments for jet lag and a suite of sleep disorders.
The new compound lengthened the biological clocks of larval zebrafish by more than 10 hours, scientists say.
We've all been there, late at night and early in the morning, forcing any and every last morsel of knowledge into our weak and exhausted brains. But when the test flops down on our desk, we just stare blankly at the forbidding blue book page. All that knowledge, gone. Either it didn't stick, or it has hid in some inaccessible crevasse deep in the brain.
Memory problems related to sleep deprivation have stymied everyone from college students getting ready for a biochemistry test to Army interrogators probing a tired detainee. Now, scientists have discovered that the memory loss associated with lack of sleep comes down to a single neurological pathway, opening up the possibility of a drug that fixes the memory of a tired brain.
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes," quips a character in the science fiction story "Ender's Game." But scientists have now found a mother and daughter whose rare genetic mutation allows them to wake up refreshed on just six hours of sleep -- two hours less than the rest of the family requires.
The 69-year-old mother and 44-year-old daughter usually hit the sack around 10 p.m., and get up around 4 and 4:40 a.m., respectively. Both women have a genetic mutation which affects the regulation of circadian rhythms, or the body's natural clock.
Of the many obstacles preventing manned travel to Mars, spending over a year weightless ranks as one of the biggest. Extended weightlessness degrades the muscles and bones of astronauts so thoroughly that by the time they get to Mars, they may not have the strength to walk on it.
I'm still waiting for the technology that finally does away with my need to sleep. But since I do need my nightly dose (I've tried going without, and it's ugly), I'd like to make sure I'm doing it as efficiently as possible. A new device called the Zeo promises to help stamp out bad sleep and wasted time in bed, by bringing deep analysis of sleep patterns, formerly the province of professional sleep laboratories, into the home.
When your head hits the pillow, your eyes still function. "But they can only sense light versus dark," says physician Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist who founded SoundSleepSolutions.com, a sleep-information Web site. This explains why a bright light or the sunrise often wakes a person up.
One hour of additional sleep at night may be your best defense against the common cold
By Kristin Haraldsdottir Posted 01.20.2009 at 4:59 pm 0 Comments
Why is it that when you are working hard and multitasking like a superhero, you tend to get sick? A recent study by Sheldon Cohen from Carnegie Mellon University examined the relationship between sleep habits and susceptibility to the common cold. The results indicated that there is a direct correlation between how much sleep you get per night and the likelihood that you will be stuck in bed with a rhinovirus after just two weeks of inadequate sleep.
French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote in 1960 that "sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms." Recent research agrees, finding that some sleepers shriek or even gorge themselves without knowing it. These sleep-disorder sufferers experience neural glitches that mix conscious and unconscious states. Scientists are now searching for the physiological underpinnings in hopes of developing better drug therapies.
Launch our gallery of the most bizarre parasomnias here.
Our FYI experts tackle your burning questions . . . with the power of science!
By Jessica ChengPosted 07.23.2008 at 6:05 pm 6 Comments
It's not necessarily laziness that makes people hit the "snooze" button in the morning. Most likely, your body clock is mismatched with the demands of your life.
Your clock is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a part of the brain that controls the body's biological rhythms. But, says Jean Matheson, a sleep-disorders specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, these preset natural rhythms often don't align with daily realities—work or school start times cannot be adjusted to fit a person's sleep schedule.