Evolutionary explanations of sleep

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  • Evolutionary Explanations
    • This approach focuses on ecological niches
      • Ecological niche- the role a species plays in it environment
        • Environment- whether they are aquatic or terrestrial and whether they are nocturnal or diurnal
        • Predator or prey- e.g. prey animals are often herbivores and are more vulnerable to predators especially when asleep.
        • Sleep site- sleep in a burrow or a more exposed location
        • Size- large animal tend to sleep less than smaller animals
    • Ecological factors
      • Predator
        • Meddis (prey status)
          • sleep keeps prey animals safe at times when normal activities are impossible
          • e.g day dwelling animals cant look for food at night so stay out of harms way by sleeping
      • Hiberation
        • Webb
          • use the analogy of hibernation to explain sleep
            • animals e.g. bears hibernate to conserve energy at times when hunting is impossible
          • Sleep is a time of relative inactivity so animals can use this to conserve energy resources
            • important for small animals who tend to have higher metabolic rates so need more sleep to conserve energy


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