Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Power Napping' In Pigeons

Date:
March 6, 2008
Source:
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Pigeons prevented from taking naps in the afternoon sleep more intensely at night. In humans, as in all mammals, sleep consists of two phases: deep, dreamless slow-wave-sleep (SWS) alternates with dream phases, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM)-sleep. Although several studies suggest that information is processed and memories are consolidated during sleep, this remains a hotly debated topic in neurobiology.

A pigeon taking a little nap.
Credit: MPI for Ornithology

In humans, as in all mammals, sleep consists of two phases: deep, dreamless slow-wave-sleep (SWS) alternates with dream phases, called Rapid Eye Movement (REM)-sleep. Although several studies suggest that information is processed and memories are consolidated during sleep, this remains a hotly debated topic in neurobiology. Comparative studies in birds may help to clarify the function of sleep by revealing overriding principles that would otherwise remain obscure if we only studied mammals. This is because birds are the only taxonomic group other than mammals to show both SWS and REM sleep.

Related Articles


Interestingly, the independent evolution of similar sleep states in birds and mammals might be related to the fact that each group also independently evolved large brains capable of performing complex cognitive processes. In their actual study, researchers from the Max-Planck Institute of Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany showed for the first time that birds compensate for sleep loss in a manner similar to humans .

During SWS, the synchronous, slow oscillations of neurons are reflected in the EEG (Electroencephalogram), as large slow-waves with a frequency of less than 4 Hz, hence the name slow-wave sleep. The amount of slow-waves is positively correlated with the depth of sleep, and may reflect restorative processes occurring during sleep. Indeed, humans, and other mammals, recover from periods of sleep loss, primarily by increasing the amount of slow-waves, particularly during the first hours of SWS, in essence sleeping more intensely.

Although birds also show SWS, it has been unclear whether they show a similar response to sleep loss. Dolores Martinez-Gonzalez and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen found now, that birds - in 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.

Journal reference: Dolores Martinez-Gonzalez, John A. Lesku and Niels C. Rattenborg. Increased EEG spectral power density during sleep following short-term deprivation in pigeons (Columba livia): evidence for avian sleep homeostasis. Journal of Sleep Research (2008), Online Early Articles, February 27, 2008


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "'Power Napping' In Pigeons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303120357.htm>.
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. (2008, March 6). 'Power Napping' In Pigeons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303120357.htm
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. "'Power Napping' In Pigeons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303120357.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins