Is falling asleep easy? Jellyfish, for example, are just bunches of neurons without a brain, yet they display similar sleep behaviours that people do.
Researchers at Caltech want to know more, so they put Cassiopea, a species of jellyfish, through several experiments to see if they fit the requirements of sleep. Sleep, or a sleep-like state required that a lifeform have lower activity levels, slower reaction times, and impaired performance if deprived of a sleep-state. The Jellyfish achieved all three.
The findings were presented in October’s Current Biology.
The findings also seem to indicated that sleep is not necessarily a function of having a brain. That would also lead to the suggestion that sleep is a function so important, that it has survived several millions of years of evolution. Could, then, sleep be a function of having neurons themselves?
There’s more stories from 2017. Check out the Best of 2017 series here