Most of us believe that it is the brain that controls our sleep pattern, but this is not the case.
Researchers have found that a protein present in the muscles can lessen the effects of sleep loss. The research was recently published in the journal eLife.
The study which was conducted in collaboration between UT Southwestern Medical Center, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the University Florida showed how a circadian clock protein in the muscle - BMAL1 - regulates the length and manner of sleep.
The team found that while the proteins presence or absence in the brain had little effect on sleep recovery, mice with higher levels of BMAL1 in their muscles recovered from sleep deprivation more quickly.
Removing BMAL1 from the muscle severely disrupted normal sleep, leading to an increased need for sleep, deeper sleep, and a reduced ability to recover, researchers said.
The lead author of the study Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi from UT Southwestern Medical Center said that the finding is completely unexpected and may change the way people think sleep is controlled.