In this episode we examine how sleep differs between species to get some clues about what sleep actually is as a phenomenon. How have marine animals solved the problem of sleeping when they regularly need to come up for air? And how do amphibians adapt their sleep architecture from life at sea to life on the land? What can mice running on their wheels tell us about what may be happening in our brains when we're performing tasks on autopilot? How do states like hibernation or torpor relate to sleep? Are sleep stages really as homogeneous as we like to think? Might even plants show some ability to learn connected to their circadian rhythms? We will find out the answers to all of these questions and more in conversation with Dr Vlad Vyazovskiy.
If you'd like to find out more about Dr Vyazovskiy's work you can find his Oxford University profile and a link to Oxford's Sleep & Circadian Neuroscience Institute below.
Vlad recommends the following articles if you'd like to learn more about hibernation, wheel running, or local sleep:
Crepuscular = active during twilight
Diurnal = Active during the day
Down state = silent/non-firing period of a neuron
Homeothermic = animals that maintain a stable body temperature
LTP = Long Term Potentiation, a long-lasting strengthening of synaptic connections
Photoperiod = day length
Sleep homeostasis = the pressure to sleep that builds up with time awake. It is linked to the accumulation of adenosine as we break down ATP to provide energy for various activities.