(Sleep Cycles of Species, animals.howstuffworks. com)
Humans spend a third of their lives sleeping, yet sleep is still sometimes thought of an impediment that gets in the way of accomplishing everyday tasks. Commonly overlooked, sleep is vital and significant to every species with each implementing the process differently to thrive best in their environments. From an evolutionary perspective, every action performed by a species is fitted to maximize survival. Mammals, fish, and reptiles all sleep but each process is different and well suited to adapt to their ecological niche (Sleep and Brain Plasticity 4-5). The question remains, “Why is sleep important and why does it occur?” While the answer seems obvious, many are unsure as to the exact physiological processes that occur while sleeping. Moreover, many are unfamiliar with the sleep cycles repeated throughout the night. With the help of recent scientific findings in specialty areas such as chronobiology and evolutionary psychology, sleep patterns found in all species can be more accurately analyzed and presented to people with a more clear understanding.
Maquet, P., C. Smith, and R. Stickgold. “Hypothesis and Perspectives.” Introduction.Sleep and Brain Plasticity. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. 1-7. Print.
Georgia State University