Ecological Theories Of Sleep

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Ecological theories of sleep (A01) Ecological theories suggest that sleep is an adaptive behaviour which has evolved because it increases our chances of survival in some way. Meddis suggested the function of sleep was to keep us safe from predators. Sleep serves the function of keeping prey animals safe when they cannot feed or engage in other types of behaviour. For animals that depend on vision it is adaptive to sleep during the hours of darkness because they cannot see at night to hunt or forage. The theory would predict the sleep pattern of any species would depend on its position in the food chain/whether it is a prey animal or a predator and/or whether it has a safe place in which to sleep. The amount of environmental danger would predict the sleep pattern. Also it would predict the effects of sleep deprivation would be the prey animal would get eaten. 146 words An alternative ecological explanation was proposed by Webb who suggested the function of sleep was to conserve energy. He proposed sleep was adaptive because it conserves energy in the same way that hibernation enhances survival by reducing physiological demands at a time of year when such demands would be hard to fulfil. Animals that depend on vision would sleep during darkness as they would spend more energy than they could gain. The theory would predict the sleep pattern of a species would depend on their metabolic rate. Animals that burn energy faster would need more sleep. It would also predict that sleep deprivation would result in lack of

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