Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your well-being, as any new parent will tell you. Chronic sleep loss can have a range of effects on the body, from impaired memory to an increased risk of heart attack. But it’s not just humans that need regular sleep. Most animals, from insects to primates, undergo a state of reduced awareness at some point in their day that we can think of as sleep.
Why animals need to sleep is still not fully understood, but scientists think it has to do with conserving energy, repairing and maintaining the central nervous system, and regulating the connections between nerve cells to ensure they can process information more effectively.
Either way, the benefits of sleep in the natural world must be profound when we consider how animals are willing to risk everything just to catch some shut-eye. This is particularly true for prey species, which leave themselves vulnerable to predators when in an immobile and inattentive state. MORE