Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have always wondered, if dolphins sleep with one eye opened, do they really sleep at all?
According to this article dolphins indeed shut down their brains.

I already googled it. No help from wikipedia or other articles and publications found.

share|improve this question
    
Of course we should note that our brain does not "shut down" (whatever that means) when we sleep. –  nico Mar 23 '13 at 8:52
add comment

2 Answers 2

I'd say that unihemispheric sleep and adaptations like it really are sleep - the brain activity on one side of the brain gives a characteristic sleep pattern. It certainly must satisfy the needs of an aquatic mammal like a dolphin or a whale since they have to be partially conscious to breathe by surfacing regularly.

It does seem to affect the brain physiology, but is there a reason you would not call it sleep?

share|improve this answer
add comment

I suppose that it depends on how sleep is defined. If we define it a a mechanism by which the brain repairs itself in an altered state, then, yes they do indeed sleep. Just not with all of their brain at once.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.