Agriculture
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Amphibians
Toads
Newts
Tree Frogs
Animals
Professor Ant
Copybees
Mating Slows Down Prairie Dogs
Behavior
When Darwin got sick of feathers
A Recipe for Happiness
Body clocks
Birds
Owls
Woodpecker
Seagulls
Chemistry and Materials
When frog gender flips
The Incredible Shrunken Kids
Scientist Profile: Wally Gilbert
Computers
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
Fingerprint Evidence
Small but WISE
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Watery Fate for Nature's Gliders
Supersight for a Dino King
Feathered Fossils
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Rocking the House
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Slower Growth, Greater Warmth
Environment
Fungus Hunt
The Oily Gulf
Island Extinctions
Finding the Past
Writing on eggshells
Prehistoric Trips to the Dentist
Untangling Human Origins
Fish
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Tuna
Parrotfish
Food and Nutrition
The mercury in that tuna
Yummy bugs
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Who vs. That vs. Which
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
It's a Math World for Animals
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Losing with Heads or Tails
Human Body
A Long Trek to Asia
Walking to Exercise the Brain
A Sour Taste in Your Mouth
Invertebrates
Octopuses
Scallops
Crustaceans
Mammals
Wolverines
Chipmunks
Yaks
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
The Particle Zoo
IceCube Science
One ring around them all
Plants
Stalking Plants by Scent
Fastest Plant on Earth
Farms sprout in cities
Reptiles
Crocodiles
Turtles
Rattlesnakes
Space and Astronomy
Planets on the Edge
Holes in Martian moon mystery
Dark Galaxy
Technology and Engineering
Musclebots Take Some Steps
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Riding Sunlight
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Where rivers run uphill
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Weather
Where rivers run uphill
Catching Some Rays
A Dire Shortage of Water
Add your Article

Why Cats Nap and Whales Snooze

At first, it may seem like a treat to stay up late—but the next day will be no picnic. There'll be yawning, heavy limbs, and a cranky disposition. At times like these, the desire to sleep can feel overwhelming. And it should. Growing kids need sleep, as do people of all ages. Indeed, research shows that health and safety both suffer when we try to get by with too little shut-eye. So it's fortunate that our bodies do such a good job of alerting us when it's time to hit the sack. Like people, other animals also take time out to rest. You've probably seen a lion dozing at the zoo, or maybe watched your dog snooze away, curled up in its bed. In fact, sleep is a necessity for every animal that's ever been studied. This includes whales, octopuses—even fruit flies. How long animals slumber, though, varies widely. Elephants and giraffes sleep only about 2 to 4 hours a day, while bats and opossums may nod off for up to 20 hours. By studying similarities and differences in when and how long various animals sleep, researchers hope to better understand why the need for rest is critical to creatures throughout the animal kingdom. t's obvious what your mom means when she says it's time to go sleep, But how do scientists describe this restful period? When we sleep, our eyes usually close and we lose consciousness. You might even think that your brain shuts down. But it doesn't. By attaching sensors to the surface of a sleeper's scalp, researchers can listen in on patterns of electrical waves within the brain. Such measurements show that the patterns of these waves change throughout the night as the body alternates between two types of sleep. In the first type, brain activity slows as the body enters an especially deep sleep. In the second type, known as rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, our eyes flutter rapidly under their lids (hence the name)—and our brains become almost as active as they are when we're awake. This period is also when we dream. Unlike reptiles, amphibians, and fish, all land mammals and birds experience this type of resting. "REM sleep is quite a mystery," says Jerome Siegel, who studies slumber in animals at the University of California, Los Angeles. Researchers don't know why people or any other animals do it. One thing REM-sleeping animals have in common, though, is that they're all relatively intelligent. Researchers wonder if the need for REM sleep, with its buzzing brain activity, has something to do with that. "We have always joked and used the term 'birdbrain' to indicate that somebody's stupid," says Niels Rattenborg, who studies bird sleep at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Starnberg, Germany. But birds are better at certain intelligence tests than are some mammals, so perhaps "birdbrain" should be considered a compliment, he says. On the other hand, Siegel has found that the duck-billed platypus, which isn't a particularly brainy animal, has "spectacular" REM sleep—twitching its bill and legs throughout this stage. And some of the smartest animals—dolphins and whales—experience no REM sleep. So its purpose remains a puzzle. Strange sleep That's not the only baffling thing about the sleep habits of dolphins and whales. A second mystery is that just half of their brain dozes—and one eye closes—at a time. Keeping partly alert may be one way that these mammals protect themselves in the open ocean, Siegel says: "They have no safe place to sleep." Ducks do something similar. When sleeping together, the birds on the edge of the group slumber with the outside eye open and half of their brain awake—presumably to keep watch while the other half of their brain snoozes. Some birds may even sleep while flying. Rattenborg's team has designed instruments to attach to birds that spend most of their life in flight. Using these tools, the scientists will measure the birds' brain waves as the animals fly, looking for signs that they might nap in the air. The fact that all animals make time for sleeping, even under potentially dangerous circumstances, suggests that sleep must serve a crucial function. And indeed, some evidence suggests that sleep is essential for learning and forming permanent memories (see "Memories Are Made with Sleep"). But sleep may also be primarily a way for animals to save energy and stay out of harm's way, Siegel says. This may help explain why meat-eating critters sleep more than herbivores, which are animals that dine solely on plants. Herbivores like cows and zebras need to spend more time searching for and grazing on food than do meat eaters, such as lions and other big cats. A lion that has just fed on an antelope won't have to eat again for several days. So a big cat might be better off snoozing for a spell after it eats, rather than prowling around and risking injury.

Why Cats Nap and Whales Snooze
Why Cats Nap and Whales Snooze








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™