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Has Any Species Evolved Beyond the Need for Sleep?

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posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 01:49 PM
As far as I know, sharks do sleep, but only a portion of their mind sleeps at a time. Is it true?

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 01:55 PM

Originally posted by Vertu
As far as I know, sharks do sleep, but only a portion of their mind sleeps at a time. Is it true?

Not sure about that. Let me do some checking and see if I can find a linky for ya.

Found it.

From experiments carried out on a small shark called the Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias), we know that the 'Central Pattern Generator' that co-ordinates swimming movements in sharks is not located in the brain, but in the spinal chord. Thus, it is possible for an unconscious shark to swim.

There is even a possibility that the sharks' fore, mid-, and hind- brain shut down in sequence, resulting in the shark equivalent of sleep-walking.

Taken from:

Scroll down to the last part of the article.

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 02:21 PM
Sharks ....(some, not all) must keep moving to keep the water pouring into the gills so they can breath. They do seam to go into stasis at times, like napping, but they never stop swimming. They do not ever in a way they never sleep. They evolved on this planet.

Do ants sleep?

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 03:12 PM
Maybe I'm late here, but apparently Jesus never slept.... all he ever did was meditate...

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 06:03 PM
My 2 cents

The odds are you will still need sleep so dont try and find away around it, looks like a waste of time or could be dangerus mutating yourself. Also you would be very cranky

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 06:41 PM

apparently Jesus never slept.... all he ever did was meditate...

Dnero, this is an interesting idea. Where did you read this?

I guess my point in starting this thread is to suggest that since sleep hasn't been 'evolved out' of any particular species, then it might be hint to a larger puzzle, namely that of rebirth/samsara. It seems like beings are free to evolve, pass genes on, etc but not to avoid sleep for any length of time. This doesn't imply a white-bearded creator but it does imply some kind of hardwiring which evolution cannot overcome.

Obviously there are lots and lots of animals that are low on the food chain and if they could evolve so as to not sleep, they would surely pass those non-sleep genes on because the animal that's awake all the time is the one who's less likely to get eaten, right?

Here's the way I see this:

Waking = Birth
Sleep = Dying
Dreamstate = Heaven
Waking = Rebirth

Has anybody thought of these similarities before? I'm not sure if souls do incarnate as animals but I find it interesting that (A) animals dream, and (B) animals cannot evolve beyond the need for sleep. Sleep does seem to be a sort-of battery recharging for the soul, IMO.

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 08:42 PM
Besides your brain and your soul resting, sleep is very essential to our muscles and growth cells. I suggest you read a page like this before you continue on with your search. It is a physical rebuilding that is very important, besides, my brain works all night while I sleep. Some people tell me they never dream, but I never stop.

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 08:44 PM
sorry if i;m not up to speed but what is Dawkins' theory of the selfish gene?

posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 08:51 PM

Originally posted by smallpeeps
Has any species evolved beyond the need for sleep?

As far as I Know, Nope.

The main reason is that why should we?

There are a million good reasons for sleep. First of all, our bodies aren't made out of perfect working compartments that take in little energy to work. And the organs need rest too. Sleep is one time many important organs get sleep, also one time other functions work at full caliber. For example growth, we grow the most during sleeping.

The list goes on and on...

As far as I am concerned I don't think there is a need to conquer sleep. Maybe decrease the amount of time a normal human wants from maybe 8 to 6, but other than that sleep is very very good.


posted on Mar, 8 2005 @ 10:15 PM

what is Dawkins' theory of the selfish gene?

Well Richard Dawkins writes books about evolution and he's pretty popular. Essentially he says it is the gene itself that causes species to modify for better survival in spite of altruistic behavior which is observed in some species. He wrote a book called "The Selfish Gene" and has written others which expand on this theory.

Anyone interested in how life has developed should read this book, and they will be amply compensated for their trouble by the fine writing Dawkins deploys to convey his very challenging argument.

"This book will show how both individual selfishness and individual altruism are explained by the fundamental law that I am calling gene selfishness." (p.6)

"I shall argue that the fundamental unit of selection, and therefore of self-interest, is not the species, nor the group, nor even, strictly, the individual. It is the gene, the unit of heredity." (p.11)

The selfish gene theory does not imply that biological, and therefore human, existence is basically selfish. Dawkins is well aware of co-operative behaviour and symbiosis. On the latter, he writes:

"In general, associations of mutual benefit will evolve if each partner can get more out than he puts in." (p.183)

Neither is Dawkins a genetic determinist: it is certainly feasible for us to modify, oppose or over-ride genetic pre-dispositions. One aspect of this is the role of memes. This invention of his is the notion of a self-replicating cultural unit, by analogy with the gene. The values that help memes and genes survive are the same: longevity, fecundity and copying-fidelity.

This is from a quick synopsis at

Originally posted by surfup
The main reason is that why should we?

Well, any species that could go without sleep would have an advatage, I'd say. Therefore, since it would be advantageous to go without sleep, I wonder why natural selection hasn't ever selected animals that go without sleep. I think it is because sleep is essentially woven into the fabric of all mammals at least, but that's just my theory.

Here's an interesting piece about how long rats can live without sleep before they die:

In the case of rats, however, continuous sleep deprivation for about two weeks or more inevitably caused death in experiments conducted in Allan Rechtschaffen’s sleep laboratory at the University of Chicago. Two animals lived on a rotating disc over a pool of water, separated by a fixed wall. Brainwaves were recorded continuously into a computer program that almost instantaneously recognized the onset of sleep. When the experimental rat fell asleep, the disc was rotated to keep it awake by bumping it against the wall and threatening to push the animal into the water. Control rats could sleep when the experimental rat was awake but were moved equally whenever the experimental rat started to sleep. The cause of death was not proven but was associated with whole body hypermetabolism.

Cruel but interesting. Makes me want to sleep just reading it!

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 12:05 AM
Thomas Edison almost never slept more than four or five hours a night. He usually worked eighteen hours each day because he enjoyed what he was doing. He believed no one really needed much sleep. He once said that anyone could learn to go without sleep.

On the other hand Albert Einstein said that he required at least 10 hours
of sleep a night to be at his best.

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 01:25 AM

Heres one example....

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 03:44 AM

Originally posted by Partyof1

I'm sorry but this is blatantly false. There is NO such mutation. I'd like to see proof that there is ANYONE that does not require sleep to sustain life.

Afaik your partially right, it's not a mutation. The Russian fellow who hasn't slept in decades started this after a food poisoning. The same thing happens with many savants or autistic people. What happens is a person gets a seizure/stroke or some brain altering medical condition which makes them display 'unusual' characteristics.
I dont know about the Ukranian guys, but I'm pretty sure that the Russian one started his sleeplessnes after a food poisoning.

Furthermore on the need for sleep I'd say that modern people need probably more sleep than 'ancient' people. My guess that since we obtain more information on a single news paper page than people did before the industrial revolution, sorting all this 'junk' info is more vital than ever.

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 04:25 AM
I'm finding I'm getting more used to sleeping now, but when I was younger, around 18 I could quite easily survive on 3hours or less sleep each night, and still be completely mentally alert. I find if I meditate every now and then I can go for a heck of a long time with no sleep....but I do start getting the munchies in a big way and start a sense of time.

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 03:09 PM

Originally posted by theRiverGoddess
Sharks ....(some, not all) must keep moving to keep the water pouring into the gills so they can breath. They do seam to go into stasis at times, like napping, but they never stop swimming. They do not ever in a way they never sleep. They evolved on this planet.

Do ants sleep?

Some sharks lay on the bottom of the ocean floor next to heated vents from the Earths Core ... and they are definately not moving I have been on a Cuba Diving tour where we saw ALOT of them being STILL !!!!!!

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 03:24 PM
When in college during the time I was sleeping 2 hours a day. I made the deans list. ever since then, more sleep, more nothing got done. Social engineering. Hm. Im a try not sleeping for a few days, Ill let ya know what happens, if I make it.

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 04:27 PM
As for sharks (fish) and other marine life sleeping, Wikipedia says:

Seals and dolphins "sleep" with alternate hemispheres of their brains asleep and the other awake. Seals need to do this so they can breathe above water while sleeping. Migratory birds also seem to sleep this way.

Even fish and fruit flies appear to sleep. If fruit flies are repeatedly disturbed so that they can not sleep, later when allowed to sleep they will stay inactive for a longer period of time.

Sounds like these motionless sharks are sleeping in their own way and that if they were disallowed their motionless sleep-periods, then they might eventually die as the rats did in my reference above. So far I haven't seen any links posted regarding an animal that has evolved beyond the need for sleep.

Is it true that sleep CANNOT be removed from a species by evolution? If not, then where are the species that don't need sleep? Clearly these species would have an advantage, right? If sleep cannot be removed through evolution then isn't that a clue to the mechanism of life itself?

[edit on 9-3-2005 by smallpeeps]

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 04:45 PM
No one has responded to the man's question at all. Yes. Snakes do not sleep neither do sharks.

[edit on 9-3-2005 by Asia Minor]

posted on Mar, 9 2005 @ 04:56 PM

Asia Minor wrote:Snakes do not sleep neither do sharks.

Can you provide a link to this fact online? I've found lots of webpages that say that snakes (and reptiles) do sleep although some do not close their eyes. Also, as I posted, sharks do sleep (by remaining motionless) and if that sleep is prevented from happening (say by keeping a shark active), the animal will suffer negative effects.

I would be very intersted to read about any animal that has evolved beyond the need for sleep/rest. If I don't find one, I must suggest that sleep is a clue to the truth of rebirth/samsara.

[edit on 9-3-2005 by smallpeeps]

posted on Mar, 10 2005 @ 08:07 PM
Bit offtopic, but I've found that sitting at my computer all the time sleeping is very necessary for my back and eyes. Another modern reason to rest.

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