Are you suffering from a sleep disorder? The problem of excessive sleepiness or sleeplessness can be quite stressful and harmful to both body and mind, ultimately leading to severe health and personality problems.

While it is commonly thought and believed that all aspects of sleep are linked to brain, it may not be so. A new study has found a protein in the muscle linked to sleep disorders.

The new study found that a protein in the muscle can lessen the effects of sleep loss in mice. This fact challenges the widely accepted notion that the brain controls all aspects of sleep. The research demonstrated how a circadian clock protein in the muscle – BMAL1 – regulates the length and manner of sleep.

The study was carried out by researchers at Chairman of Neuroscience at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the US, and the finding published in the journal eLife.

"This finding is completely unexpected and changes the ways we think sleep is controlled," said Joseph Takahashi, Chairman of Neuroscience at the university.

While the protein's presence or absence in the brain had little effect on sleep recovery, mice with higher levels of BMAL1 in their muscles recovered from sleep deprivation more quickly. In addition, removing BMAL1 from the muscle severely disrupted normal sleep, leading to an increased need for sleep, deeper sleep, and a reduced ability to recover, the study states.

"These studies show that factors in muscles can signal to the brain to influence sleep. If similar pathways exist in people, this would provide new drug targets for the treatment of sleep disorders," Takahashi said.

The new finding may lead to new therapies to treat sleep disorder.

(With inputs from agencies)