Have you ever wondered if sleep duration can affect your brain health? Recent research from the University of Geneva has made a surprising discovery: our brain cells, or neurons, may be at greater risk at night, especially when it comes to Parkinson’s disease.

Let’s look at it in detail. Parkinson’s is a condition in which certain brain cells, particularly those that produce dopamine, begin to deteriorate. This leads to symptoms such as hand tremors, slow movements, and muscle stiffness. Many people with Parkinson’s also have trouble sleeping or seeing changes in their sleep patterns.

The big question the researchers asked was: Does the disruption of the circadian cycle cause Parkinson’s or is it the other way around? To find out, they turned to fruit flies. Why fruit flies? Because, believe it or not, they can help us understand human diseases. By giving these flies a drug that mimics the effects of Parkinson’s, they observed how the disease developed.

This is where it gets interesting. The flies that were exposed to this drug at night had more damaged brain cells than those exposed during the day.