Sleep switch found in fruit flies

Rather than count sheep, drink warm milk or listen to soothing music, many insomniacs probably wish for a switch they can flick to put themselves to sleep. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, including Paul Shaw, PhD, have discovered such a switch in the brains of fruit flies.

Protein keeps sleep-deprived flies ready to learn

A protein that helps the brain develop early in life can fight the mental fuzziness induced by sleep deprivation, according to Paul Shaw, PhD, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Starvation keeps sleep-deprived fly brain sharp

As anyone who has ever struggled to keep his or her eyes open after a big meal knows, eating can induce sleepiness. New research in fruit flies suggests that, conversely, being hungry may provide a way to stay awake without feeling groggy or mentally challenged.