A Blog Around The Clock

To sleep or not to sleep: the ecology of sleep in artificial organisms:

We systematically varied input parameters related to the number of food and sleep sites, the degree to which food and sleep sites overlap, and the rate at which food patches were depleted. Our results reveal that: (1) the costs of traveling between more spatially separated food and sleep clusters select for monophasic sleep, (2) more rapid food patch depletion reduces sleep times, and (3) agents spend more time attempting to acquire the ‘rarer’ resource, that is, the average time spent sleeping is positively correlated with the number of food patches and negatively correlated with the number of sleep patches.

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Collectively, the output suggests that ecological factors can have striking effects on sleep patterns. Moreover, our results demonstrate that a simple model can produce clear and sensible patterns, thus allowing it to be used to investigate a wide range of questions concerning the ecology of sleep.