Sleep Regulator Uncovered with CRISPR

#worldsleepday #insomnia #CRISPR #GeneEditing

The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, this is whereby individuals find it difficult to fall asleep or they experience sleep disturbances such as waking up during the night or sleeping for a short duration. A survey conducted by Linenbundle found that 22% of people struggle to sleep every night and only 40% of people have never had a problem sleeping, meaning that 60% of us have had some kind of sleep problem ranging from a daily to monthly basis.

It has been suggested there are some things that can improve sleep quality, these include:

  • A healthy diet

  • No caffeine or alcohol several hours prior to sleep

  • Exercise during the day

  • Only using your room/bed for sleeping (no work)

  • A regular sleep-wake pattern

  • Limit screen time before bed

  • No naps during the day

  • Stress management

Professional help must be sought if you are regularly unable to sleep and it's impacting your daily life. There are several treatments available to improve sleep quality, the options include; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or in severe cases, sleeping pills may be prescribed for a short period.

But the big question is...

What makes us different from each other?

How can some people fall asleep in 10 minutes whilst someone else might be awake for 2 hours?

Well, this could very well be related to our genes!

Various studies have shown genetic variants cause differences in our sleep patterns and sleep duration, and it's the reason why some people are early birds, whilst others hate the morning. So it seems there is an interplay between our lifestyle and our genes which determines our sleep quality.

It has been hypothesised that the protein Fxr1 is a modulator of sleep. In one particular study, CRISPR was used to target Fxr1 and GSK3β genes. It was found that Fxr1 is involved in sleep deprivation and its activity is regulated by GSK3β and also, certain Fxr1 gene variants may increase the risk of insomnia and be related to sleep duration too. Thereby showing how gene variants are involved in sleep differences.