From our own lived experience, we know the importance of leading healthy social lives. Social isolation and loneliness can lead to impaired sleep, irritability, mood disorders and premature mortality. Many animals also have rich social lives. In this study, Michael Young and co-authors explore the effects of acute and chronic social isolation on sleep and feeding in flies. Chronic but not acute social isolation led to sleep loss and overconsumption of food. They correlate the profound behavioural changes with changes in gene expression and identify a candidate neural circuit at the centre.
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