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Animals spend a good portion of every day doing nothing, and it seems like that time could be better spent hunting, searching for mates, etc. Also, animals are not aware during sleep, so it would be easier for a predator to attack them. Why is sleep required for animals?

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different animals have different sleep patterns.. can you clarify which animals are you talking about –  WYSIWYG Apr 23 '13 at 5:05
In humans, sleep is required for memory consolidation. You might also be interested in this question (re: the predator question): biology.stackexchange.com/questions/7616/… –  dd3 Apr 23 '13 at 19:31
Just to add to this conversation, sleep also has significant influence on the immune system function as discussed in this paper (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323) –  Bez May 11 at 22:16
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