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Theories Of Sleep Notes

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Theories of sleep Ecological/ evolutionary theories:

Meddis 1975 - protection theory - sleep is an adaptive behaviour to keep us safe from danger - hide, look dead, not a threat o Night was a time of danger for our ancestors (falling, predators) o Couldn't safely forage at night o Adaptive advantage by keeping us out of harm's way o Species with high metabolic rates need to spend more time eating so have less time to sleep Webb 1982 - hibernation theory - sleep is an adaptive behaviour to conserve energy o Sleep is like hibernation o Body temperature falls and animal is inactive o Less energy is used at a time when food is scarce or it is dangerous to look for food o Humans still sleep due to evolutionary hangover o Explains animal behaviour better

Evaluation of protection theory:

Seems logical - appreciates complexity of relationship between sleeping, predator-prey relationships and body functions - whereas the Webb theory is simplistic Prey animals are very vulnerable when asleep, so unless they live in safe burrows, they are more at risk sleeping Predicts prey animals should sleep longest to keep safe from predators but opposite is true e.g. horses sleep less than lions Sleep isn't just about protection and body size - involves food requirements too e.g. herbivores such as horses eat poor quality food so have to stay awake long enough to eat enough and carnivores such as lions eat high quality food so don't have to spend lots of time feeding so can afford to sleep - simplistic Other animals are also more vulnerable sleeping e.g. indus dolphins in danger of being hit by debris in river and have evolved to have blindness, so why haven't they evolved sleeplessness - theory misses something about why sleep is essential for life Lacks temporal validity - does not apply today - street lights, houses to keep us safe - no predators

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