Lessons on how to sleep: what we can learn from worms
Caenorhabditis elegans is a worm that has been used for decades as a model organism. Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have found that a specific neuron, called ALA, and the amount of calcium it contains are essential for the homeostatic regulation of sleep in C. elegans. ALA was found to contain more calcium ions when the worms were awake for a long time, and less when they slept. Considering that the molecules involved in sleep regulation are widely conserved, these results may translate to other animals, including humans.