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'Power napping' in pigeons
Date:3/3/2008

n this case pigeons - also do not simply shrug of sleep loss.

In their study, the sleep researchers prevented pigeons from taking naps, something they generally do during the last hours of a day. During the night, the birds were allowed to sleep normally. Although the time spent in SWS did not increase during recovery, the amount of slow-waves did increase, just as in mammals. This means that pigeons, and presumably other birds, have the capacity to recover lost sleep without having to spend more time sleeping. "If pigeons lose sleep when a predator is around, they can recover this lost sleep at a later time by sleeping more deeply. This intensity dimension to avian and mammalian sleep may give animals a certain degree of flexibility in how they acquire their daily sleep requirement", says Niels Rattenborg, co-author of the study and head of the research group Sleep and flight in birds at the Institute.

The way sleep is regulated in birds and mammals seems to be more similar than previously thought. This increases the chances of learning more about the function of sleep in humans by studying sleep in birds.


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Contact: Dr. Niels Rattenborg
rattenborg@orn.mpg.de
49-815-793-2279
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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