Tired mosquitoes would rather catch up on sleep than bite you: By understanding the mosquitoes’ circadian rhythms, researchers hope to find better ways to prevent infection.

Turns out you’re not the only one who needs a good night’s rest to function well the next day.

Researchers with the University of Cincinnati found that mosquitoes whose slumber is disrupted are more interested in catching up on their sleep than looking for food the next day. The research demonstrates how vital this biological function is even among insects.

“It was a bit surprising. Sleep deprived or not, a blood meal should appeal to them,” UC doctoral student and study lead author Oluwaseun Ajayi said.

The study was published online on May 3 and in print on June 1 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

The phenomenon of catching up on missed sleep, called sleep rebound, has been observed in other animals such as honeybees, fruit flies and people.

Biologists in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences and Virginia Tech’s Department of Biochemistry spent more than a year developing protocols to study mosquito sleep. While observations can affect the outcome of virtually any experiment — a phenomenon called the observer effect — UC biologist Joshua Benoit said this was especially true when studying mosquito sleep.

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