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Animals Have Different Patterns of Rest

from the Boston Globe (Registration Required)

We spend a third of our lives doing it. We build special rooms for it, and we agonize over not getting enough of it. Yet despite all the time humans invest in sleep, scientists have still not been able to explain why we need it.

While an array of lab studies show that slumber-deprived people remember less, react more slowly, and even develop higher risks of heart disease and diabetes, the reasons sleep developed in the first place have remained murky—and some even argue that it may not be as useful as we think.

Several scientists are now trying an innovative approach: comparing the snoozing habits of different animals to better understand how sleep evolved over time.

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