How many of us have real problems with waking up early in the morning? How hard it is sometimes to get out of bed and make yourself start your day? This problem should be pretty well familiar to millions of people. Scientists at the Northwestern University have found a new theory about those who like staying in bed till the noon time. They explain this tendency with a certain gene loss. This gene received a name “twenty four” and is reported to be able to mess up our sleep-awake cycle, this way making much harder for many of us to awaken. The findings of this study were recently published in one of the issues of Nature magazine.
The circadian clock is something that drives our organism, along with other natural things and mechanisms, in sleeping and awake mode. Our circadian rhythm is regulated by special protein called PER, and the 24 gene turned out to be a key component for producing PER protein. In other words, when 24 gene is absent, too little protein PER is produced and found in brain neurons, therefore, the sleep-awake cycle is disturbed.
During the Northwestern study, the scientists used for experiments the species of the flies, Drosophila melanogaster. However, the findings are completely applicable to human beings as well. Dr Ravi Allada, on of the leaders of the Northwestern study, comments on the experiments during the study as the following: “The function of a clock is to tell your system to be prepared, that the sun is rising, and it’s time to get up. The flies without the twenty-four gene did not become much more active before dawn. The equivalent in humans would be someone who has trouble getting out of bed in the morning.”