meir at zoology.washington.edu (Eli Meir) writes:
I remember finding a few interesting articles last year on medline
about sleeping. Unfortunetly, I don't remember the author or journals,
but the jist of his argument (with some evidence) was that sleeping
developed at least partially to let our brains cool down at night. He
hypothesized that our sleeping is kind of like a lizard (cold-blooded)
awake. He went on from there. It was a bit out there, but quite
interesting, and sounded a little plausible.
Yes, this is known as the "radiator hypothesis". It was presented in
a Behavioral and Brain Sciences article a little while back, together
with assorted critical review.
As for my own opinion, it seems to me that Mother Nature could have
worked out a better way of cooling off the brain, something that
wouldn't turn animals into inert blobs and leave them at the mercy of
any predator that happens to wander along.