Abstract: Sleep is one of the most pervasive biological processes, being necessary for animals that range from flies to whales. Yet its function is hotly debated and remains mysterious. Previously, by focusing on the scaling of sleep times and fraction of REM sleep across species, we revealed a fundamental role for sleep in neural repair. Now, by conducting a similar analysis on sleep times and REM sleep as individual grow from birth to adult, we find dramatically different patterns that show sleep ontogeny does not recapitulate phylogeny. Furthermore, by developing biological scaling and mathematical theory, we demonstrate the importance of sleep function being for neural wiring and learning during development. Some other intriguing findings are that sleep and brain states transition dramatically around 3 years of age in humans, and together, this suggests that sleep at early ages is about learning and later on is about repair. Comparison of limited ontogenetic data across species also helps conclude that these findings are general across animals.
Collins Conference Room
Van Savage (University of California, Los Angeles; Santa Fe Institute External Professor)
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