Preprint Communication Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Sleep Optimizes Time in the Effective Environment

Version 1 : Received: 25 May 2020 / Approved: 27 May 2020 / Online: 27 May 2020 (08:29:53 CEST)

How to cite: Ataie, N. Sleep Optimizes Time in the Effective Environment. Preprints 2020, 2020050446. Ataie, N. Sleep Optimizes Time in the Effective Environment. Preprints 2020, 2020050446.


Why animals sleep is an outstanding open question. Information about the toxic byproducts of aerobic cellular respiration along with the analysis of patterns in animal size, sleep needs, dietary-type, metabolism, number of heart beats, transportation-network design, and transportation energetics/dynamics suggest that the function of sleep is to maximize the time an animal has to perform its life functions given the finite and constant number of lifetime heart beats it has. Sleep slows down metabolism, and the heart rate, thereby decreasing the load of toxic reactive oxygen species in the cell and extending the cell’s lifetime/proper-functioning. I argue that this is used to maximize the time an animal spends in its ‘effective environment’, which is defined as the period in the light cycle (day or night) where the essential life-functions of that animal (like finding resources, finding sex, hunting) are better achieved. Larger, slow-metabolizing animals need less sleep because their large-bodily-networks and slow metabolisms keep their heart rates relatively low, resulting in a lower rate of oxidative damage, and more relative time in the ‘effective environment’ to get their essential life-functions accomplished.


sleep; allometric scaling; oxidative stress


Biology and Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science and Zoology

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