London, Dec 14 (UNI) New treatments could be developed for insomnia after scientists discovered the ''genetic switch''that governs sleep patterns.
Researchers from America and Japan have identified how the action of one protein on another regulates the body clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which has evolved to keep humans' metabolism in tune with the rising and setting of the sun.
A single unit - amino acid - in one of the proteins undergoes a change that triggers the genetic chain of events that keeps the body clock ticking.
The research team is now testing antibodies that can pave the way for new drugs that could alter the body clock and so prevent the sleepless nights caused by stress, jet lag or working night shifts, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Millions of people are affected by sleeplessness and doctors warn that it can lead to health problems ranging from stomach ulcers to depression, heart disease and cancer.