We know calcium is good for our bones, but it also might be good for our rest.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo created a computational model of sleep and, using that model, predicted that sleep duration is regulated by calcium. They also identified genes they thought were involved.
Those predictions then were tested on mice whose genes regulating calcium had been removed.
The study, published in the journal Neuron, found that the inflow of ions into neurons is required for mice to fall asleep and that pumping calcium ions out of neurons is required for mice to wake up, according to an article on MedicalXpress.com.
“Sleep is one of the most fundamental physiological functions, but we still know so little about the molecular processes by which sleep duration is regulated,” says Hiroki Ueda, professor in the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Tokyo. “Many mental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases are associated with sleep disorders, so understanding how sleep is regulated may lead to a deeper understanding of those diseases and future treatments.”