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Migrating Birds Take Hundreds of Powernaps.

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the checking-eyelids-for-leaks dept.

141

Ant writes "MSNBC reports that to help make up for sleep lost during marathon night flights, migratory birds take hundreds of powernaps during the day, each lasting only a few seconds, a new study suggests. Every autumn, Swainson's thrushes fly up to 3,000 miles from their breeding grounds in northern Canada and Alaska to winter in Central and South America. Come spring, the birds make the long trek back. The birds fly mostly at night and often for long hours at a time, leaving little time for sleep."

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141 comments

Thomas Fuchs of Bowling Green State University (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16333701)

Anyone else lol at that? Thomas Fuchs birds. To bad he has a life and I don't haha.

this early in the morning (5, Funny)

yincrash (854885) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333733)

At 4:20 in the morning, I could a couple of power naps as well.

Re:this early in the morning (2, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334249)

The fact that you could not complete your sentence properly shows your level of sleep deprivation:

At 4:20 in the morning, I could do with a couple of power naps as well.

Re:this early in the morning (3, Informative)

Snover (469130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335481)

At 4:20 [wikipedia.org] , it may not be sleep deprivation inhibiting his ability to speak correctly...

Re:this early in the morning (2, Funny)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334259)

"I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah."

So neh

http://www.phespirit.info/montypython/four_yorkshi remen.htm [phespirit.info]

Why they sleep only a few seconds (5, Funny)

Jamu (852752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333739)

Flap flap flap
Must stay awake...
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I'm falling!
Flapflapflapflapflap
Flap flap flap
Must stay awake...

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333901)

That's about what it's like in traffic too. Except replace "I'm falling!" with "Oh shit, just fell asleep at the red light again!"

I suggest you *not* try it sometime.

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333969)

1. Invent Jolt-Cola for birds (I dunno, something that straps to their beaks or similar)
2. PROFIT!

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334525)

Birds don't have money.

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334653)

Birds don't have money.

That that's why they keep on harrasing me in the city for food! The lazy bums should get a job like everyone else!

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336915)

1. Invent JoltCola for birds
2. Create a NGO for the support of migratory birts that lack funds for their basic needs, and make everyone feel bad that they wouldn't spare a dime for the poor birds.
3. Profit!

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (2, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334845)

I dunno, something that straps to their beaks or similar

'e could grip i' by the 'usk!

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (4, Interesting)

Archibald Buttle (536586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334627)

:-)

Not all that far from the truth.

Albatross (and related species) spend virtually their whole lives at sea, returning to land only to breed. They fish for food, but can't sleep on the sea surface because they'd get caught by preditors (some shark and whale species, sealions, etc). Their only opportunity for sleep is whilst they're flying - so they nap for a few seconds whilst they're gliding.

Urban legend alert (5, Informative)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334861)

Urban legend -- albatrosses sleep on the surface, not in flight.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albatross#Morphology_ and_flight [wikipedia.org]

Re:Urban legend alert (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335527)

Urban legend -- albatrosses sleep on the surface, not in flight.
Poppycock. That is obviously not an urban legend -- it's a maritime legend.

Sheesh. When did all widely-believed falsehoods become urban legends, instead of just plain old legends, myths, etc?

Re:Urban legend alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16336339)

er is this a joke?

The "urban" in urban legend refer to the way the stories are spread (in an urban enviroment: cities/computers). Urban conditions have created a boom of myths (and real info as well), so any myth, even if hundreds of years old, is now an urban legend if it has come through the urban legend boom.

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335073)

Their only opportunity for sleep is whilst they're flying - so they nap for a few seconds whilst they're gliding.
We normally call it "micro sleep"

You know when you're so tired that you start nodding off before abruptly jerking your head back up? That is micro sleep and it generally lasts up to 3 seconds at a time.

I imagine birds are better at it than human pilots. Those few seconds are all it takes to go off the end of the runway, pancake during a landing, or to plow into the side of a mountain.

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (2, Informative)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335233)

If you ever actually see an albatross at sea, you will know this is complete bullocks. An albatross take off is a drawn out and complicated affair with much beating of wings and windwilling of the legs. There is absolutely no way an albatross sitting on the surface could react fast enough to a predator to make an escape by getting airborne.

Re:Why they sleep only a few seconds (1)

famikon (994709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337663)

I imagine birds are better at it than human pilots. Those few seconds are all it takes to go off the end of the runway, pancake during a landing, or to plow into the side of a mountain.
Yea, I'm sure a bird would be able to microsleep while lifting at 747 off the runway....

Works for late night driving too (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336499)

Brrrrmmmm
Yawn...Must not sleep at wheel...
(sound of car hitting rumble strip)
Who!? What? Oh yah, must stay awake (turns up radio)
Zzzzz...

Did the same thing as a student (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16333749)

When I was a student I also took several power-naps during the day to make up for lack of sleep.

They were called lectures.

Re:Did the same thing as a student (2, Funny)

CortoMaltese (828267) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334139)

I actually attended (well, sort of) a course just because the lectures were held just after lunch in a lecture hall with very comfortable seats.

*sigh*

I wish my office walls weren't made of glass.

Re:Did the same thing as a student (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335109)

I wish my office walls weren't made of glass.
Extra starch in your collars will help keep your head upright.

Just kidding.

Someone needs to manufacture a neck/head brace type thing that has a fake (or real) wire(d/less) headset built in so you can pretend to be on the phone while napping.

Re:Did the same thing as a student (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334189)

Don't worry, the academic staff return the favor during your graduation...

Re:Did the same thing as a student (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334601)

I actually got a notation on a bad mid term once that I didn't get an F because the Prof figured I must have picked something up by osmosis.

Maybe next time I'll have to try it at the back of a hall, instead of front and center in office.

KFG

Did the same thing as a student-Spend &' sleep (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337255)

"When I was a student I also took several power-naps during the day to make up for lack of sleep.

They were called lectures."

Very expensive naps.

Wish my boss understands this (3, Funny)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333753)

I only take tens of powernaps during the day, and my boss is threatening to fire me. (True, each of them lasts longer than a few seconds ;-)

Re:Wish my boss understands this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337377)

I suspect your boss does understand, and is encouraging you to put your naps to good use while migrating.

This is news? (1)

TrondS (732720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333905)

I remember hearing about this when I was like, 7-8 years old. I'm now 28.

Re:This is news? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16333917)

LOLOLOL REDUNDANT /AMIRITE?

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334703)

I remember hearing about this when I was like, 7-8 years old. I'm now 28.
According to Moores law, you should hear about it again when you are 28 (the dupe of this story) and again when you are 37,5-38.

Re:This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337235)

Time flies when you're ... zzzzz

Ah shucks (4, Funny)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333931)

"I think what's interesting about our findings is that even animals that should be highly adapted to sleep loss cannot go on indefinitely," Fuchs said. "That a need for sleep cannot be eliminated even in these species underscores the importance of sleep for many, if not all, animals."
I hope I'm not the one to break this to my boss...he might even try to disprove him.

Maybe.. (4, Insightful)

l0cust (992700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333943)

Maybe the birds were getting those drowsy sessions and 'power naps' BECAUSE they were caged and being subjected to go through utterly boring and long observation periods when they would rather be flying over the ocean somewhere. Or they just closed their eyes every few minutes to curse the researchers to hell for caging them in the first place.

But seriously, studies of this kind tend to lose credibility when they start predicting the free behaviour of species while testing them under captive conditions. Going by this logic, I can say that lions in jungle start rattling the nearest metal bars or objects they can find when they feel hungry because I observed this behaviour in a bunch of lions in the nearest zoo. I know its stretching the point a bit, and that 'some' behaviour show consistence irrespective of the state of the subject animal/bird, BUT trying to deduce migratory behaviour (out of all things) from a bunch of observational data collected from birds in cages is stretching it too far IMHO.

Re:Maybe.. (2, Funny)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334043)

Going by this logic, I can say that lions in jungle start rattling the nearest metal bars or objects they can find when they feel hungry because I observed this behaviour in a bunch of lions in the nearest zoo.

You're obviously not a real scientist. A real scientist would have let the lions out of the cage before making any observations.

Re:Maybe.. (1)

l0cust (992700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334433)

A real scientist would have let the lions out of the cage before making any observations.
Exactly. Not only out of the cage but in a sufficiently open and 'jungle-like' wild & natural environment before even trying to observe their natural behaviour. Now do you understand what I was trying to say or do you want me to go all medieval on your ass !

Re:Maybe.. (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335153)

You're obviously not a real scientist. A real scientist would have let the lions out of the cage before making any observations.
Which is why all that we have left are the 3rd rate hacks.

You couldn't be more wrong. (4, Informative)

viewtouch (1479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335171)

First of all, experiments I've read about have been done on birds that are flying, hence no cage.

More importantly, though, although you must accept the inevitability of sleep, nonetheless you assume that sleep is a behavior and that behavior can be affected by a cage. Well, the view that sleep is behavior has no scientific basis, in spite of the fact that we (as do other animals) have some control over when we sleep, which is, well, totally beside the point. The fact remains that we, and all animals, MUST sleep and we cannot change that. If we don't sleep, our immune and nervous systems shut down and we die. This is true of all animals.

The latest science indicates beyond any doubt that sleep has nothing to do with behavior but is, rather, a metabolic state (anabolism) which is, of course, cell-based and which, therefore, cannot be affected by putting a bird in a cage or by attaching a neuro-transmitter to a flying bird.

Studies of this kind, therefore, do NOT lose credibility because it is not behavior which is being tested, but rather it is what is being tested is a simple measurement of how the catabolic - anabolic (awake - asleep) balance is maintained in birds, in particular.

It's too bad everybody seems to think that either this is just a humorous article or that they aren't interested enough in understanding what sleep is to spend a few minutes either thinking about what sleep really is, or reading about it. Sleep is important enough that if you try to do without it you will soon be rendered useless and die. Understanding sleep can make your life better. Not getting good sleep makes your life hell, if it doesn't kill you. You can't alter the basic metabolism of life by deciding that you are somehow special and you can't understand sleep if you simply dismiss it as behavior.

You couldn't be more wrong-cycles of state. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337531)

"This is true of all animals."

Do plants sleep, and why not? How about bacteria? Worms? Flies?

Re:You couldn't be more wrong-cycles of state. (1)

viewtouch (1479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337957)

There is no getting away from the fact that metabolism is present, by definition, in EVERY life form, and, even in single-cell life, is a balance between anabolism and catabolism. To the extent that animal life and plant life have a common source, and therefore have common metabolic fundamentals (at the most fundamental level) then the question of whether plants sleep is something that can be probed only by probing what sleep actually is at the most basic level. The answer is a very definite maybe. When we understand better what sleep is, when the sleep researchers who study sleep as a behavior give way to neuroscientists who study sleep as a metabolic phenonmenon, then the understanding of sleep will dramatically change from what is commonplace today.

By the way, it's been proven conclusively that fruit flies do sleep.

If sleep is just the anabolic state, and if being awake is just the catabolic state, then it is universal among all life. It may be more interesting to ask - why do we wake up? That's a far easier question to answer. Asking why do we sleep may turn out to simply be asking the wrong question, or asking a question that is simply too big to answer in 25 words or less - i.e., akin to asking why do we live.

Re:Maybe.. (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335413)

Well the article says that They found that during autumn and spring, when the birds are normally migrating, they reverse their typical sleep patterns [...]

So that does suggest something going on which is not related to the caging, since they were caged and observed during the whole year.

Yep... (5, Funny)

DuranDuran (252246) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333957)

> to help make up for sleep lost during marathon night flights, migratory birds take hundreds of powernaps during the day, each lasting only a few seconds

Yep, just like my crazy uncle. But instead of gliding, he uses the cruise control.

Re:Yep... (4, Funny)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334275)

Its like the old joke that Uncle Harold died peacfully in his sleep. Its just all his passengers in the car that were screaming

Humans Too (5, Informative)

HoneyBeeSpace (724189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16333967)

Humans do the same thing. The term is "microsleep", lasting from 2 to 30 seconds or so, often with eyes open. A quick search returns hundreds of PDFs on the phenomenon.

As usual, there is a WikiPedia entry (not very useful) and this site too: http://www.sleepdex.org/microsleep.htm [sleepdex.org]

Hmmm... people do it. Birds do it. I'll be shocked when the research is published that fish do it too.

Re:Humans Too (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334049)

I will be shocked when research is published that even educated fleas do it

Re:Humans Too (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334061)

You just supplied every Slashdotter with the perfect excuse for not being able to answer a random question during a lecture. I hope you're pleased with yourself.

I am. Thanks a bunch!

Re:Humans Too (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334907)

Yep, I've done this once while driving (at 1 o'clock in the night). My eyes were closing on their own will, so I decided to keep them open. And with their open, a blank out of several seconds came - I've seen nothing for several seconds, with the eyes wide open. I was scared, so I've stopped, moved around, waited some time and started again.

Re:Humans Too (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337051)

Wow, that's interesting.

My daughter, when she was young, would sometimes fall asleep with her eyes open. Totally freaked us out as parents, but apparently it happens. :)

Just goes to show that having the visual data coming in doesn't necessarily keep the brain awake.

Re:Humans Too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337181)

My mother claims that she used to sleep with her eyes open, but when she went off to college, she would be woken up by her roomate and friends staring at the phenomenon, and subsequently trained herself not to do it.

Posted AC to avoid the inevitable flood of mother jokes.

Not convinced (3, Interesting)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334001)

How is this different from when you keep nodding your head and waking up when you're very, very tired but doing something critical/dangerous? Hasn't everyone, to their horror, experienced this when driving? Or when you're in a lecture, your head drops, and you jerk awake with an embarrassing snorting noise?

I wouldn't consider this to be an impressive evolved behaviour, so much as just what happens when a bird in flight is pushing itself to its limits of endurance. There just aren't many animals other than humans and avians that ever find themselves having to maintain such prolonged alertness to survive, so this is seen as a phenomenon. Try keeping squirrels on a wire over a pit of spikes or something, and you'll probably observe the same behaviour.

Re:Not convinced (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334073)

Or when you're in a lecture, your head drops, and you jerk awake with an embarrassing snorting noise?

Noseplugs ought to fix that right up.

Try keeping squirrels on a wire over a pit of spikes or something, and you'll probably observe the same behaviour.

I recommend alligators for this.

Re:Not convinced (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337343)

Or when you're in a lecture, your head drops, and you jerk awake with an embarrassing snorting noise?
Noseplugs ought to fix that right up.
Until you end up snorting the noseplugs into your sinus cavity. It's painful, and sometimes requires surgery to fix... or so I've heard ;).

Sleep apnea + foreign objects lodged in bodily openings --> Bad happenings.

the difference between birds and geeks... (1)

Vincman (584156) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334025)

...is that birds are on a constant exercise-regiment while the trend with humans is that they become more and more sedentary, behind their PCs, xboxes, or otherwise. I'm just saying this because some "productivity-gurus" may draw the conclusion that we should follow birds' examples. If we ditched our cars and started running everywhere, on the other hand... zzz

@#$%^ Buzzwords (1, Interesting)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334211)

How, exactly, is a 'powernap' any different from a generic nap? I expect Bullshit Bingo from the WSJ, not from scientists.

Long hours? (1)

mtjs (918147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334301)

Do you also have short hours ? How long do those last ? 60 short minutes ? ;) Slashdot posting mech. didn't beleave I could reply in 17 secs so I have to type more text before I hit the submit button...

The difference between Digg and Slashdot (1)

urbanradar (1001140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334455)

Digg featured the same story just the other day. It was on another website, but presented the same facts. But, as opposed to Slashdot, they ran the article under the headline "Most flirtatious avatar [digg.com] ". Somehow, I find that funny.

How do they avoid crashing? (4, Interesting)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334491)

FTA, these swallows sleep for "9 seconds on average".
If one stops flying completely for 9 seconds, the approximate distance it would fall is s = ut + 1/2at**2 [wikipedia.org] ... 0+1/2*32*9*9 feet ... 1296 feet.
But the barn swallow typically migrates within within 100 feet of the ground [nwf.org] .
So how do they avoid crashing?

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334535)

Unfortunately this is about thrushes. D'Oh! I wonder how high they fly?

Thrushes migrate at 0 to 2624 feet (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334633)

"In migration along the coast, the Swainson's Thrush has been reported from sea level to about 800m [2624 feet] [royalbcmuseum.bc.ca] elevation." So they seems to be flying dangerously low if they do stop flying while sleeping, but not impossibly low. I wonder how many do crash?

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (2, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334693)

the approximate distance it would fall is s = ut + 1/2at**2 ... 0+1/2*32*9*9 feet ... 1296 feet.

A few theories from me as an armchair scientist. If it has a way to lock it's wings it will fall slower. It will loose several seconds of direction control but maybe it has a mechanism to compensate.

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16335113)

i think i would trust your science better if you weren't such a looser.

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16335333)

And it's its.

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (5, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334713)

But the barn swallow typically migrates within within 100 feet of the ground .

Even more impressive is the behavior of the Wandering Albatross which can fly for days at a time within a wingspan of ocean waves (albeit their wingspan is about 10 feet). They can do this even during a full gale.

So how do they avoid crashing?

They soar. Wings generate lift just because they're there and under the right conditions a bird might well increase its altitude while napping.

As a wave moves through the air, or air moves over a hill, it compresses and rises. Thus a sleeping bird may find itself safely carried over variations in surface hight without having to do a thing. It's called "slope soaring."

KFG

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334773)

All this talk of unladen swallows and no Monty Python references?
You guys are losing it.

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16334959)

There's this little think known as *terminal velocity* whereby most things can't really fall at their maximum speed. Thank god, otherwise the average raindrop would be travelling, oh, about 600 miles per hour by the time it reaches our head. Painful, no?

Re:How do they avoid crashing? (1)

Tetrad_of_doom (750972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335253)

1) As others have mentioned, during sleep the birds are probably gliding.
2) The equation s = ut + 1/2at**2 neglects air resistance.

Thrush Obituaries (1)

SCDavis (974281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334813)

Billy thrush was killed this morning when he fell asleep at the wing and flew into a 747 jet engine.

Timmy thrush was trajically killed when he also fell asleep at the wing and flew into some power lines and was electricuted.

Sam Thrush was killed today when he did not get enough sleep and saw what he thought was a worm on the ground and it ended up being a snake and the snake ate him.

that is all from Thrush news...

Sketchy Logic (1)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16334843)

The opening of the article states that the birds fly at night, which leaves little time for sleep.

Sure, if you discount the other half of the day.

I have to agree with the other commenters who pointed out that this is a good example of how watching a bird take naps in a cage may not be the best kind of science. For all we know, the birds in the wild are enjoying a hearty day's sleep, completely undisturbed by pesky lab techs trying to peer into their cage and see what they're doing. You keep looking at me while scribbling on a clipboard, and I'll have trouble sleeping, too.

Did Anyone RTFA? (4, Informative)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 7 years ago | (#16335255)

In the article it states: "Some scientists speculate that some birds might even be able to catch up on some forms of sleep while in flight, but this idea has yet to be fully tested.".

The article is not even about sleeping while flying, they are talking entirely of the bird's sleep states during the daytime (and then the birds would fly at night). But, what do I expect? This is /. after all where nobody reads the article and makes hilarious comments anyway.

birds split from mammals before dinosaurs (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336473)

Its remarkable our nervous system shares several properties with bird, since the split was 200 million years ago. By evolutionary standars humans are practically cousins with mice, perhaps splitting only 60 million years ago.
Despite this, theres evidence some birds can processes some symbols, and perform simple counting. They dont seem to have the emotional range of mammals.

Re:birds split from mammals before dinosaurs (1)

Toba82 (871257) | more than 7 years ago | (#16336813)

I for one welcome soulless avian overlords who feel not a mite of our pain.

What is the purpose of sleep? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16336703)

If the birds can gain the same benefit from multiple, very short, sessions of sleep that we can only gain from large chunks of sleep it makes you wonder if the restorative processes are similar. Clearly they are not acieving REM.

Hemispheric Sleep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16336805)

This isn't how I learnt it at veterinary school. Migratory birds are capable of sleeping with only one half of their brains at a time. You can tell which half is sleeping - the contra-lateral eye is closed.

A similar thing happens in cetacea (e.g. dolphins and porpoises) who also exhibit hemispheric sleep, which eye is closed is not a reliable indicator of which side is asleep.

Both these observations were made by examining EEG recordings of the animal during sleep.

Functionally, this micro-power-naps explanation may be equivalent to the hemispheric sleep in migratory birds, but I would question the working definition of sleep they were using. Whilst powernapping may be a comforting anthropocentric theory, it is not suitable for dolphins, since they need to swim up to the surface to breath, and avoid nocturnal predators. Other posters have given back of the envelope calculations why it may not be suitable for low altitude migrating birds either.

What a waste. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16336877)

I wonder how many MILLIONS they wasted to find out this bullshit!
They could have put that money towards cancer research!

Not the only person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16337741)

Am I the only person who misread this as 'powerups'?

The sleep of a thousand first posts... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16337919)

MSNBC reports that to help make up for sleep lost during marathon night flights, migratory birds take hundreds of powernaps during the day, each lasting only a few seconds, a new study suggests.

I know how these birds feel, though my seconds-long powernaps usually occur while reading /. even though - zzz ...

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