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Gently Rocking Fruit Flies to Sleep

Innovation seldom ceases in the global effort to learn better ways to get flies, and perhaps people, to get to sleep.

Sleep Induction by Mechanosensory Stimulation in Drosophila,” Arzu Ozturk-Colak, Sho Inami, Joseph R. Buchler, Patrick D. McClanahan, Andri Cruz, Christopher Fang-Yen, and Kyunghee Koh, Cell, vol. 33, no. 108462, 2020.

The authors, at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania, report:

“People tend to fall asleep when gently rocked or vibrated. Experimental studies have shown that rocking promotes sleep in humans and mice. However, the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon are not well understood. A habituation model proposes that habituation, a form of non-associative learning, mediates sleep induction by monotonous stimulation. Here, we show that gentle vibration promotes sleep in Drosophila in part through habituation.”

(Thanks to Mark Benecke for bringing this to our attention.)

Improbable Research