Monday, June 16, 2008

Why Do We Sleep? Science Struggles for an Answer

Sleep is risky. Imagine you're a wild animal. When you're asleep, you're particularly vulnerable to attack. What's more, you could be out doing something more productive like searching for food or a mate. So why hasn't evolution selected out sleepers? There are plenty of ideas, but in short, we just don't know.

Recently 60 Minutes spent half their broadcast
looking at the mystery of sleep. First, sleep is just as essential as food for survival. In tests, rats die just as quickly from sleep deprivation as they do from starvation. Sleep is also connected to staying in shape, building memory, maintaining chemical balance in our bodies and keeping emotions in check. Despite this, the average night of sleep for Americans has fallen from 8 hours to 6.7 since 1960.

Part 1 (13:01)

Part 2 (12:36)

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About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.