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

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54
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3answers
3k 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 ...
40
votes
2answers
7k 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? ...
15
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2answers
353 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 ...
14
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2answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
678 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
583 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
171 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
902 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
8k 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
690 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
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1answer
85 views

What senses are active while sleeping?

During sleep, our body activity decreases. I am wondering on the extent of the lowering of this activity regarding our five senses. Clearly, the sense of touch is still very efficient since shaking a ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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
1k 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
104 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
276 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
548 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
176 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
225 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
336 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
175 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
58 views

Chickens roosting, is it sleep or torpor?

At night when they roost, do chickens experience a state of sleep (meaning do they move from NREM1 to NREM2, NREM3 and REM) or are they in a state of torpor (reduced metabolic rate and decreased ...
6
votes
1answer
350 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
28 views

Behavioral change in dolphins during different hemispheres activity periods?

It is known that dolphins never sleep in the sense that we do, instead they have one hemisphere of the brain sleeping while the other one is awake. I wonder, do they show observable changes in ...
6
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
319 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
104 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
99 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

What's the worst that can happen from too much sleep deprivation? Can you die?

It is well known that sleep deprivation causes considerable discomfort in humans (and has even used as a form of torture), but nevertheless there have been people who went through protracted sleep ...
5
votes
1answer
431 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
336 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
120 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
197 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
338 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
72 views

What is happening physically when I get sleepy and when I wake up?

After a week of too little sleep, I slept about 12 hours last night to "catch up". It made me wonder: what is happening physically that signals that I'm done sleeping, or conversely, that I need to ...
4
votes
1answer
169 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
293 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
69 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
262 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
272 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
106 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
348 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
2k 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
79 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
0answers
38 views

Is it possible for a human to wake up in a wrong way?

There's an old folk saying that goes like "He got out of bed on a wrong foot" - to indicate that the person's day is going poorly because of the way that person woke up. Is it is possible for a human ...
3
votes
0answers
43 views

TV's so loud when I turn over

Scenario: I'm about to fall asleep with the T.V. on. Having completely forgotten that it was, no longer even hearing it, just before falling asleep I turn over with a 'fresh' ear and it's blaring. If ...
3
votes
0answers
62 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
111 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, ...
3
votes
0answers
57 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
123 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
265 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 ...