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Re: Evolution of sleep

On Thu, 17 Mar 2005, Eric Allen wrote:
> So has anyone thought of this possible reasoning for
> the evolution of sleep (or its continued existance)?
> What about the energy required to maintain a high
> "alertness level" 24-7?  Could it not be simply that
> sleep is a energy conservation mesure?  

In regards to that, depending on how far back in time you want to
go, the length of the day has lengthened. This would (ultimately) 
affect bio rhythms and the time spent sleeping. How far back does
sleep go?

> As an illustration:  My pet cat is only fully awake
> maybe 6 hours out of the day, and that time is spent

Cats can be active night and day, so this would is not out
of line. Other animals can likewise be active at different times
of the day, and this can be dependent on other factors, such
as a full moon. Elk, deer, etc will get up and forage in the
light of a full moon.

> patroling her territory, hunting (mice, birds, bugs,
> and food bowls), and "socializing."  My speculation is
> that she sleeps between "hunts" in order to conserve
> her energy and minimize the number of forays necessary
> to aquire enough food to survive.  Think about it: 
> when your bloodsugar starts to drop in the late
> afternoon, many people start to get drowsy and want to
> take a nap.  Eating a snack can keep one awake (even
> through a boring lecture..not that any of us have a
> problem with that :p ).  Taking a nap doesn't negate
> the need to uptake more energy, but it can postpone
> it.