Why do we sleep?

Eric Mintz mintz at orchid.UCSC.EDU
Mon Feb 28 14:13:18 EST 1994

In article <2ktckm$k3t at polaris.unm.edu> kestrel at unm.edu (Naomi) writes:
>In article <9402251412.AA48342 at polywog.biology.uofs.edu>,
>Brian T. Greuel <GREUELB1 at JAGUAR.UOFS.EDU> wrote:
>>In article <2klfsi$fdj at polaris.unm.edu>, kestrel at unm.edu (Omi) writes:
>>> With regard to the statement in a reply to "Why do we sleep", someone 
>>> suggested that it is a conservative measure for the body--a "catch-up" 
>>> time.  Is there some sort of mechanism that causes an increase in body 
>>> temp at this time?  I've discovered that my body temp goes up about 10 
>>> degrees immediately after I fall asleep, and have wondered at the 
>>> reason. Any thoughts? 
>My apologies--a bit of an exaggeration there.  The situation, as observed
>from a second-hand viewpoint (as I am asleep at the time), is that, upon
>falling asleep, my body starts to radiate quite a bit more heat than it
>does under waking conditions.  I haven't noticed a similar radiation with
>other adults, but have observed an increase in heat radiation by infants
>during sleep cycles; I wonder if there may be a connection.  Personally,
>the increase of temp when I fall asleep is dramatic enough for another to
>tell immediately that I am "over the brink".  Has anyone else noticed this
>phenomenon, or have a hypothesis about it?

OK, you are talking about two completely different things here.  An increase
in the heat radiating from your body is not the same as an increase in 
body temperature.  It is well documented that body temperature falls
upon entrance into non-REM sleep.  One way for the body to reduce its
temperature is by increasing radiative heat loss.

So are you talking about an increase in body temperature or an increase in 
radiative heat loss?

Eric Mintz
mintz at biology.ucsc.edu

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