A fish that barely sleeps could help turn humans into all-night party animals

Popular Science | 2/9/2018 | Staff
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There’s something about the blind Mexican cavefish that will make you quite jealous: To survive and thrive, they require just two hours of sleep each night; no more, no less. Imagine everything you could do with those extra six hours.

Among all the animals in the world that need their zzz's, species differ remarkably in their sleep patterns and behavior. Humans fall somewhat in the middle of the spectrum, requiring a strict eight hours for adults, according to recent studies. But on one end of the spectrum are the brown bat, which sleeps about 20 hours a day and the giant armadillo and the python, which both take in 18 hours per day. And then there’s certain cave dwelling species’, including the Mexican cavefish, which gets by unscathed, health-wise, with about two hours of sleep per 24 hour period.

Questions - Variation - Animal - Kingdom - Alex

“We think we can use cavefish to ask fundamental questions about why we sleep and why there is so much variation in sleep across the animal kingdom,” says Alex Keene, lead author of the paper and a neuroscientist at Florida Atlantic University. “If we can figure out why these fish get by despite little sleep, we may be able to find better ways to manipulate sleep in humans.”

For over a century, the species Astyanax mexicanus have mystified scientists. The species exists in two very different populations: A surface population, known as surface fish, that inhabits rivers, as well as multiple populations that live in caves, known as cavefish,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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