Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Good Night's Sleep Protects Against Parasites

Date:
January 15, 2009
Source:
BMC Evolutionary Biology
Summary:
Animal species that sleep for longer do not suffer as much from parasite infestation and have a greater concentration of immune cells in their blood according to a study published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Animal species that sleep for longer do not suffer as much from parasite infestation and have a greater concentration of immune cells in their blood according to a new study.

Related Articles


The question of why we sleep has long puzzled scientists. Brian Preston from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, led an international team of researchers who tested the theory that sleep improves immune function.

He says, "Sleep is a biological enigma. Despite occupying much of an animal's life, and having been scrutinized by numerous experimental studies, there is still no consensus on its function. Similarly, nobody has yet explained why species have evolved such marked variation in their sleep requirements (from 3 to 20 hours a day in mammals). Our research provides new evidence that sleep plays an important role in protecting animals from parasitic infection."

By comparing reported information about mammalian sleep, immune system parameters, and parasitism the authors show that evolutionary increases in mammalian sleep durations are strongly associated with the number of circulating immune cells. Mammalian species that sleep for longer periods also have substantially reduced levels of parasitic infection. According to Preston, "We suggest that sleep fuels the immune system. While awake, animals must be ready to meet multiple demands on a limited energy supply, including the need to search for food, acquire mates, and provide parental care. When asleep, animals largely avoid these costly activities, and can thus allocate resources to the body's natural defenses."

This research may yet have implications for human health. Preston warns, "Given the declines in human sleep durations that have occurred over the past few decades, there is a clear need for studies that further clarify the immunological significance of sleep."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMC Evolutionary Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian T Preston, Isabella Capellini, Patrick McNamara, Robert A Barton and Charles L Nunn. Parasite resistance and the adaptive significance of sleep. BMC Evolutionary Biology, (in press)

Cite This Page:

BMC Evolutionary Biology. "A Good Night's Sleep Protects Against Parasites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108194405.htm>.
BMC Evolutionary Biology. (2009, January 15). A Good Night's Sleep Protects Against Parasites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108194405.htm
BMC Evolutionary Biology. "A Good Night's Sleep Protects Against Parasites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090108194405.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) — Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) — Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) — A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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