In our part of the world, "Thanksgiving" usually means a feast of seasonal foods with family and / or friends,…
In our part of the world, “Thanksgiving” usually means a feast of seasonal foods with family and / or friends, sometimes followed by a nap.
A “nap” is of course a short-term sleep during the day, aside from our usual nightly sleep patterns. But it seems that our current definition of what constitutes “common” sleep is wrong. While today’s western societies believe that eight hours of interrupted sleep at night is the norm, there is quite a lot of evidence that our nature is naturally inclined to wake an hour or two in the middle of the night: old documents refer to nights with “first sleep” and “Other sleep”, for example, and in later research on people who got artificially long nights, subjects naturally developed a two-step sleep pattern. And certainly many cultures (and individuals) expect adults to take a short sleep in the middle of the day.
While not resting, sleep is characterized by reduced awareness, inactive voluntary muscles and reduced sensory activity. Although people sometimes see sleep as a conviction, it plays important roles in our physical and mental functions. Sleep is a time for the body to restore or repair different systems, from muscle to skeletal, nervous to immunity. Sleep is also when the brain sorts and stores memories of the day.
Not all sleep is the same: For most mammals, some sleep involves high levels of brain activity (REM, “fast eye movement”, sleep) and a little sleep involves low levels of brain activity (non-REM sleep). Furthermore, non-REM sleep comes in several different types, as the brain passes through different stages of rest.
Non-human beings also sleep of course. Have you ever looked at a dog who is dreaming of someone hunting, rubbed and barking in sleep? But while people generally sleep about eight hours a day, other species need more or less sleep, varying a lot. According to a list compiled from other works on Dr. Eric Chudler’s website “Neuroscience for Kids”, giraffes only need about two hours of sleep each day / night, while small brown bats need nearly 20 hours of sleep each day / night. [1
9659004] Most mammals have several sleep periods during the day (“polyphasic”); The ancestral human pattern “sleep, wake, sleep” at night is called “biphasic”.
Different animals are also sleeping at different times. While today we are sleeping tonight and are awake today (“day”), many other mammals and some birds sleep more often in the day and wake up at night (“nightly”) – most rodents and most owls, for example.
There are also some intermediate schemes, such as “crepuscular” animals like rabbits, waking up at dawn and dusk.
The sleep’s unconsciousness can be dangerous and predators who need to keep a constant look, tend to sleep fewer hours and less deeply than the predator’s sleep.
Sleep shutdown of muscle response can be particularly challenging for animals that must continue to migrate, for example whales that must continue to increase surface to breathe. Valar participates in “unihemispheric sleep”, giving each side of their brains a rest while the other continues to stay awake and keep the systems left.
Birds and mammals sleep, but at least some reptiles, fish and invertebrates – even animals such as flies and roundworms, show rest periods that have the same characteristics as sleep.
So why do not we see more animals in sleep? Part of the answer is of course that all animals do not spend much time to sleep. Another part of the answer is that most animals seek the most hidden and safe place to sleep, giving some protection while they are unconscious.
As a daily animal, we usually become sleepy (as opposed to tired) when there is an increase in hormone melatonin. We tend to get sleepier in the winter because the shorter days of the season mean less sunlight – and less sunlight means that our brains produce more melatonin.
Other chemicals may increase sleepiness, such as tryptophan amino acid. Tryptophan does not make you sleepy directly but starts a chain reaction that stops increasing your serotonin, making you relaxed and a little sleepy.
Since turkey has tryptophan, it is usually thought that turkey makes us sleepy, which induces famous Post-Thanksgiving party dinner.
But does turkey actually eat us sleepy?
No, it does not. Some other foods, cheddar cheese and pork chops have, for example, higher levels of tryptophan than turkey. The real offender in post-Thanksgiving feast is full of carbohydrates: mashed potatoes, yams, filling / dressing, rolls and pie – plus any glass of wine.
Whether induced by carbohydrates or your ancestor’s sleep cycle, you can rightly claim that your post-party meal is natural. Zzzzz …