Can't Sleep? Insomnia Gene May Be to Blame
If you find yourself tossing and turning most nights, the culprit may be a newly discovered "insomnia gene." Yes, menopause can also play a part in keeping you awake, especially if you're prone to night sweats, but the mutated gene is a sleep disturber that affects you at any age and stage. If you're born with it, chances are you'll get two-thirds less shut-eye than normal over the long haul. Worse yet, that level of sleep deprivation carries with it serious health costs such as greater risks of diabetes and high blood pressure that can lead to a shortened lifespan.
The research was done on that laboratory favorite, the fruit fly, but scientists insist that the little insect has much in common with us when it comes to the mechanisms of sleep and wakefulness. Dr. Nicholas Stavropoulos of Rockefeller University in New York told MailOnline: "This work gives us several new clues about how sleep is controlled at the molecular level, and could prove useful in understanding and treating sleep disorders. But what's especially interesting is the insomniac gene may function through homeostatic mechanisms.These are distinct from the well-studied circadian clock pathways linked to sleep, and have an effect on the body regardless of the time of day."