KATHMANDU — A new study has found that after a sleepless night, males may prefer to sleep while sleep deprivation has no affect on mating behaviour of females.
Busting the myth, the findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, indicated that sleep-deprived males showed little interest in courtship while a lack of sleep had no effect on the mating behaviour of females.
“An organism can only do one thing at a time,” said corresponding author Michael Nitabach from Yale University in New Haven, US. “What we have discovered is a neuronal connection that regulates the interplay between courtship and sleep,” Nitabach added.
The study that was conducted on Drosophila by Nitabach in collaboration with scientists from Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Southeast University in China, and University of San Diego.
The male flies’ behavior is easily explained as an adaptive behavior, say the scientists. “Sexually aroused males got little sleep, while aroused females slept more. Falling asleep during sex is not a good way to pass on your genes. It could be that females cannot afford to pass up an eligible suitor no matter how tired they are,” Nitabach stated.
They investigated neuronal activity involved in both behaviors. In addition to identifying this sex-specific behavior, the collaborative team also revealed that underlying functional connections between the distinct neural centers that mediate sex and sleep.
“It appears that whichever behavior has the highest biological drive suppresses the other behaviour,” he said.
The researchers noted that humans could possibly have a similar mechanism for adjudicating when the drives for sleep and sex collide.Follow @gorkhapost