Report

Adaptive Sleep Loss in Polygynous Pectoral Sandpipers

Science  28 Sep 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6102, pp. 1654-1658
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220939

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Abstract

The functions of sleep remain elusive. Extensive evidence suggests that sleep performs restorative processes that sustain waking brain performance. An alternative view proposes that sleep simply enforces adaptive inactivity to conserve energy when activity is unproductive. Under this hypothesis, animals may evolve the ability to dispense with sleep when ecological demands favor wakefulness. Here, we show that male pectoral sandpipers (Calidris melanotos), a polygynous Arctic breeding shorebird, are able to maintain high neurobehavioral performance despite greatly reducing their time spent sleeping during a 3-week period of intense male-male competition for access to fertile females. Males that slept the least sired the most offspring. Our results challenge the view that decreased performance is an inescapable outcome of sleep loss.

View Full Text