The biological process characterized by reversible unconsciousness, unresponsiveness to external stimuli and motor passivity.

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40
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1k views

Why did the process of sleep evolve in many animals? What is its evolutionary advantage?

The process of sleep seems to be very disadvantageous to an organism as it is extremely vulnerable to predation for several hours at a time. Why is sleep necessary in so many animals? What advantage ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What causes REM atonia to be lost in sleepwalking?

I understand that in normal REM sleep the voluntary muscles are in effect paralysed in order to prevent an individual acting out their dreams. This paper indicates that there are likley to be ...
12
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1answer
164 views

Can parts of a human brain be asleep independently of each other, or vary in the times required for them to fall asleep?

I know that some birds and marine animals can continue complicated activity (swimming, flying?) while one hemisphere of their brain is asleep. I'm interested if human brain has some parts of it that ...
11
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1answer
388 views

Why do we feel tired if we sleep excessively?

When we eat, finally we feel full. I know which mechanism causes the sensation of being full. But when we sleep excessively we often still want more sleep. Why does this happen? Is there a mechanism ...
10
votes
1answer
107 views

Does sleep in humans re-structure based on the expected sleep time?

I've read about anecdotal evidence that human brain has a fairly good internal clock that can be used to judge the amount of time that has passed. I'm wandering if there are any mechanisms in the ...
9
votes
1answer
303 views

What light intensity starts melatonin release in humans?

I'm interested in whether any studies have determined the intensity of light at eye level that starts melatonin release in humans. I know that: melatonin release is suppressed by blue light with ...
9
votes
3answers
323 views

How are our senses dimmed during sleep?

Our senses are not as sensitive during sleep compared to wake. There is an arousal threshold during sleep that only when it is overcome will it wake a person up. My question is how is this arousal ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Do humans sneeze or cough in their sleep?

As far as I know, I've never seen anyone sneeze or cough while they're sleeping. Google wasn't very helpful either; a lot of contradicting claims. So the questions remains: do humans sneeze or cough ...
8
votes
2answers
419 views

Is it possible to live without health problems sleeping one day and not the other?

Basically, I want to know if it would be humanely possible to sleep one day, skip the next, sleep, skip, sleep, skip, etc, with a 8 hour sleep time. If you need any extra information, let me know.
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Effects of Polyphasic vs Monophasic sleep in humans

Why do humans practice monophasic sleep cycles? When altering one's circadian rhythm to a Polyphasic sleep schedule, how much would that affect development? Is Monophasic sleep (once per day) ...
8
votes
1answer
736 views

Disadvantages of unihemispheric sleep

Is is well known fact that marine mammals and some birds can sleep with one brain hemisphere at a time, since it's essential for their survival. However, at least in my opinion, such mechanism would ...
7
votes
1answer
321 views

Why do people look different after a long sleep?

What happens during a long sleep that makes people look odd when they have just woken up? Why doesn't the same phenomenon occur in the case of a person who lies down for an extended period of time, ...
7
votes
3answers
132 views

How does one maintain balance sleepwalking?

Anectodal. Feel free to shoot it down. Walking is an acquired skill; As far as I'm concerned exhaustion causes disorientation. Even after waking up it sometimes takes a second or so to get balanced. ...
6
votes
2answers
156 views

Is there a preferred sleeping position for humans?

I remember hearing various sleep related advice as a child, like "sleep on your right side", or " have your head pointed in X direction". Is there any biological reason why sleeping on one side ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Is there a normal human melatonin concentration to light level curve?

I'm looking for a graph or a curve that would show the typical concentration of melatonin in blood or saliva for humans over 24 hours. It would be good to know the photoperiod for the same human as ...
5
votes
1answer
195 views

What causes humans to be sleepy?

Is there a hormone or group of hormones that regulates when we feel sleepy late at night, or in the morning? Or is sleepiness caused by some other non-hormonal mechanism? (e.g. pure psychological, ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

What causes Paresthesia (Pins and Needles) at a cellular level?

I've looked it up in plenty of places like the Wikipedia page and such, and it is clear that the most common cause of Paresthesia is either a fair amount of pressure on a specific patch of skin ...
5
votes
1answer
593 views

What causes adenosine build up in the brain when awake?

Adenosine is an important hormone in sleep regulation. It is postulated that when a person is awake, there is a build up of adenosine in the brain, which inhibits the neurons in the brain, and ...
4
votes
2answers
74 views

The least complex animals with ability to dream

People can dream, dogs can dream, cats probably too when they are sleeping. What about other creatures? Can a bird dream? Do rats have dreams? Are there any studies about that kind of thing? What ...
4
votes
1answer
187 views

Can humans shorten their sleeping patterns?

Can sleeping patterns be trained, or are they genetic? I read that a human needs to sleep at least 4 hours. Can sleeping time be reduced without having a negative impact?
4
votes
1answer
237 views

Human sleep cycles and dream times, what influences the timing and intensity? Sleep history included

I'm doing sleep and dreams research and have developed an iPhone application to help me track my bedtime, rise time, sleep onset and also mark dreams. The app also monitors overall activity overnight ...
4
votes
2answers
128 views

Melatonin production - requires nighttime, or just full darkness?

Is melatonin properly produced in daytime sleep in full darkness? Or does it require only nighttime sleep? Additionally, what other biological implications are there, if any, to daytime sleeping? ...
4
votes
0answers
137 views

Do non-human animals suffer from insomnia?

And how do we know whether they do or not? § If sleep is a physiological need, it seems weird that we become unable to fulfill on demand even in the absence of any obvious physical issues. We would ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

Do dolphins really sleep?

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
197 views

How are melatonin levels measured in humans?

I'm wondering how it is possible to measure diurnal variations of melatonin levels in humans. I keep reading that there should be a large difference in amplitude between melatonin levels measured at ...
3
votes
1answer
522 views

Why do you need you room dark for melatonin release?

There is a light pollution movement that says lighting at night obstructs melatonin production. They say: What makes you fall asleep are changes in the level of the hormone melatonin ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Does playing music during sleep actually suppress rather than rouse the brain?

I've long been interested in the effect of music/sound on dreaming, and even built 2 apps that play music during REM period. Now I'm looking at this article about FMRI studies of a sleeping brain, and ...
3
votes
2answers
216 views

Do primates other than humans have a consistent sleep schedule?

I'm doing some sleep research and would like to compare a human sleep pattern as recorded by a wrist-based actigraph with a "natural" sleep pattern, such as from apes. In an experiment like that, a ...
3
votes
0answers
176 views

Why do people sleep with their eyes open?

It's a fact that some people sleep with their eyes open, but why does that happen? Is it normal behavior, not a symptom of any sort of disorder? Are there any (dis)advantages to sleeping with eyes ...
3
votes
0answers
42 views

Physiological or molecular difference before and after sleep?

I know that the details of the process of sleep aren't entirely known, but have always wondered why I feel rested after sleep. Biologically, what differences can be directly observed in the human ...
3
votes
0answers
72 views

What controls the feeling of discomfort/comfort before and after sleep?

I'm interested in which biological systems or hormones are involved in the following phenomenon: Before sleep it may be difficult to find a comfortable position, and muscular aches and pains are more ...
3
votes
1answer
179 views

The fundamental importance of R.E.M. Sleep. (Rapid Eye Movement)

Question: I know that experiments have been conducted to determine the importance of R.E.M. sleep in our sleep cycle. It is particularly important for learning, information synthesis, and recovery ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

Are there any multi-cellular organisms out there that do not sleep?

Looking around I see animals - ants, bees, birds, lizards, roaches all the way up to humans appear during a part of the day and not other parts. I would guess there is a sleep/recovery cycle involved. ...
2
votes
2answers
205 views

Do brain cells shrink during REM sleep or a lucid dream?

In this BBC news article a study shows that during sleep brain cells shrink to open up the gaps between neurons and allow fluid to wash the brain clean. But do the cells shrink and undergo the whole ...
2
votes
2answers
175 views

What mechanism suppresses melatonin release in humans?

I'm looking at melanopsin, a photo pigment in the human eye. One of its actions is to trigger suprachiasmatic nuclei SCN to suppress melatonin release. I'm interested in learning what is the exact ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Are (baseline) high blood levels of melatonin associated with either circadian rhythm or mood disorders?

(Exogenous) melatonin is administered at night for treatment of circadian rhythm disorders, but melatonin taken during the day is linked with depression. I would like to know if high blood levels of ...
2
votes
4answers
96 views

Why do the humans become sleepy after meals?

I don't know about all the mankind, but I know enough people, who becomes sleepy after their meals. Also, I'm not sure, what kind of food do they consume, but I personally get sleepy almost from any ...
2
votes
0answers
37 views

Does Lucid Dreaming decrease the regenerative effect of sleep?

After watching this SciShow video on sleep, I wonder about lucid dreaming. Specifically: Does lucid dreaming and associated directed agency within Lucid Dreaming decrease the regenerative effect of ...
2
votes
0answers
69 views

What is the mechanism by which Melatonin increases dream vividness and intensity in humans?

I'm looking at the wikipedia article on Melatonin and noticed that it mentions vivid dreaming caused by melatonin. I have the "Melatonin and the Biological clock" pamphlet referenced in the article, ...
2
votes
0answers
199 views

Can the sleep/wake cycle be influenced by non-visible spectrum electro-magnetic radiation?

I've been reading a few papers on Melanopsin and Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), and see that the sleep/wake transition is ...
2
votes
0answers
190 views

What is the timing of information assimilation within a human brain?

A little background: I'm an avid dreamer and have great dream recall, sometimes up to 5-7 per night. In my experience, I can sometimes trace some elements of the dream to an event that occured ...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Can cerebrospinal fluid deliver nutrients/drugs to neurons during sleep?

I'm looking at this article on the possible mechanism of detoxifying brain during sleep using cerebrospinal fluid. It states that at night, the space between neurons may allow better (up to 20x) ...
1
vote
1answer
258 views

Why does non-continuous sleep makes you feel tired?

Let's say, hypothetically, that you fell asleep at 10PM, and you were woken up by a noise at 1AM. If you went back to sleep immediately and woke up at 6AM, you will feel tired even though you had ...
1
vote
1answer
649 views

Serotonin - Does being aroused make you sleepy?

My Psychology text book says Serotonin causes "Sleep, arousal levels and emotion" Does this really mean that when you are being aroused, Serotonin is released, which in turn makes you sleepy? If so, ...
1
vote
2answers
19 views

How would the human body adjust to sleep times if we were to live in a place with different day lengths?

You sleep at night and are active during the day that's how things work for humans, but theoretically if a human whose parents lived on earth were to be born in another planet resembling earth but the ...
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0answers
18 views

Is there a homeostatic setpoint for number of hours of sleep required by a human?

I've heard this TED.com talk about dieting and it mentions that there's a very definitive setpoint within the human brain about how much a human should weight. The speaker mentions that after as much ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

What is the cause of singularity in phase response curve of human sleep and bright light?

I have no background in science as I am a computer programmer, but I am trying to get information on phase response curves, human sleep and exposure to bright light as I am trying to get to grips with ...
1
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0answers
41 views

How big a change will you see in your sleep/ natural REM sleep cycles when you take Acetylcholine agonist drugs? [closed]

When drugs such as Donepezil and Huperzine A are ingested, they travel through the blood stream, finally reaching vital neural receptors. Drugs like these inhibit the acetylcholinesterase enzyme ...
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0answers
35 views

Why delayed Power nap might degrade our night sleep?

Recently in the research areas we come across the term "Power Nap" which says after a nice lunch it would be nice to get a nap for 20-30 minutes which will make the body relaxed and fresh afterwards. ...
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0answers
25 views

Does sleep duration vary for animals based on time of the year?

I'm interested in the sleep patterns of wild animals, that still use sun for controlling their biological clock. Animals entrain their biological clock to the day/night cycle using light as the ...