A Moment of Science

Fruit Fly Slumber

Ever wonder if fruit flies sleep? Find out on today's A Moment of Science.

A fruit fly with bright red eyes sits on a red wall.

Photo: Marc AuMarc (flickr)

Can you imagine trying to get some quality shuteye without any eyelids?

On this edition of A Moment of Science, we discuss a question that might have been weighing on your mind: Do fruit flies sleep?

If you were to observe fruit flies in your kitchen for a few days straight, you’d notice that they stay still for about seven hours every night. If you were to disrupt their sleep for a night by tapping on the counter periodically to wake them up, you’d notice that the flies would sleep even longer the next night to make up for lost slumber.

Scientists who’ve studied fly sleep a little more rigorously have made lots of interesting discoveries, including the fact that caffeine makes flies stay awake in the same way it makes us humans stay awake. Researchers have also found that sleep deprivation is pretty bad for the developing brains of juvenile flies.

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