DailyDirt: Why Do We Sleep?
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
There are numerous hypotheses for how and why sleep is important. The facts show that a wide range of animals need sleep and that a lack of sleep is extremely unhealthy, especially if sleep deprivation lasts more than a few days. For example, sleep-deprived lab rats will die more quickly than rats deprived of food. Sleep is clearly essential to normal functioning, but there's no definitive reason for it. Here are just a few interesting articles that discuss the mystery of the function behind sleep.
- There's no consensus on why animals need to sleep, but there are few (or no) species that are completely devoid of a resting state. Sleep seems to serve at least one essential function, but it's just not clear what that function is (or if there are more). [url]
- One reason for why we need sleep might be that our brains need it to prune back synaptic formation to prevent a detrimental build-up of brain activity. But then why does synaptic pruning (usually) require an unconscious state? [url]
- The function of sleep may vary across species -- given that marine mammals can go without sleep for remarkably long periods of time. Sleep might have evolved as a trait from a common ancestor, but it could be an example of convergent evolution (eg. echolocation in bats vs dolphins). The jury is still out. [url]