In this Moment of Science, we discuss a question that might have been weighing on your mind: Do fruit flies sleep?
After observing and experimenting with fruit flies for several nights, I made a surprising discovery. A few nights ago, I noticed that the fruit flies in my kitchen stayed still for about seven hours. I then watched them the next night, and they did the same thing. The night after that I tapped on the counter periodically to wake them up. I repeated this all night. Last night they slept longer to catch up.
And what’s more I did some research on the subject and scientists have looked into this very thing. In fact, they experimented with feeding fruit flies caffeine and found that it kept the flies up. They also fed the flies a chemical similar to that which is thought to make mammals sleepy, and the flies passed out. As it turns out, sleep is essential to many forms of life.