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

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44
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3answers
2k 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 ...
34
votes
2answers
6k views

Do ants or other insects sleep, and if so why?

I was thinking yesterday about insects (as there was a spider in the house, and I couldn't help but think of anything else, even though they aren't insects), and I started to wonder if ants sleep? ...
14
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2answers
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 ...
13
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1answer
485 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
268 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
504 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
142 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
3answers
564 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
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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
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2answers
530 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
945 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
214 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
486 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
156 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
244 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
2answers
141 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
298 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
76 views

What are the effects of sleep deprivation?

Having recently pulled an "all-nighter" while trying to fix a fatal bug in our release code, I started thinking of any health risks that I might have. What are the adverse effects of staying up for ...
6
votes
1answer
197 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
274 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
96 views

Which part of human eyes is getting tired?

It's a thing of common sense that if you read, drive or look at computer screen for too long your eyes will get tired. They burn, itch and try to close all the time. But I was wondering which part(s) ...
5
votes
1answer
138 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
1k 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
143 views

Why sleep? No, actually, why wake?

I was just reading the sleep threads, and I wondered, why is the body so constructed so that sleep is necessary? (Is it just a design error?) But then, how do things come to be awake at all? How did ...
4
votes
2answers
86 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
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1answer
240 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
284 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
1answer
107 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
193 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
53 views

Do invertebrates dream? [closed]

From Wikipedia: Studies have observed dreaming in mammals such as monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, elephants and shrews. There have also been signs of dreaming in birds and reptiles. Have there ...
4
votes
0answers
71 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
257 views

Where do butterflies sleep?

Do butterflies (insects) sleep, and if so, where?? I have googled for information but didn't get an exact answer.
3
votes
2answers
95 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
244 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
1k 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
61 views

Does tea have its effect if you have a sleep after drinking it?

If I drink tea, then go to sleep for a while, when I wake up, will the effect of tea still be on me (the refreshing effect)? Does it depend on the duration of sleep?
3
votes
2answers
347 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
51 views

Is there a correlation between brain size and amount of sleep? [closed]

As far as we know, sleep seems to be the part of the daily cycle when executive functions are resting and memories are fortifying. Many, but not all, of the functions that become dysfunctional upon ...
3
votes
0answers
53 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
107 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
0answers
228 views

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

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
226 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
355 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
1answer
57 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) ...
2
votes
2answers
259 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
1answer
392 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
234 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
60 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
156 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 ...