New research helps explain why small humans and animals leap so much

For toddlers, life is full of new experiences. Researchers have now added a whole new landmark to the long list of changes that young people make – a dramatic change in brain function that serves the complex purpose of sleep deprivation.

Decades of study on the importance of sleep in brain development and maintenance have given us a very good idea of ​​the need for the right amount of shut-eye.

Now the U.S. Researchers have developed a mathematical model that lets us understand the main functions of sleep, showing how we can change sleep behavior when we leave a child behind for years.

Van Savage, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, says, “I was shocked at how big this change has been in the short term and whether this switch will come then.”

“It’s a transition that is similar to water freezing in ice.”

While sleep deprivation is something we all personally experience on a daily basis, there is still plenty we don’t understand. Just to make matters worse, the closer we look, the more complicated this task appears.

“Assuming that sleep has evolved to perform some primary function, it is almost certain that multiple bodily functions are piggy-backed on this comprehensive and time-consuming feature of animal life,” Savage and his team wrote in their report.

A big part of the process of sleep is that we enter the state of consciousness by moving the eyes like a dream, which is called rapid eye movement (REM).

In adults, we tend to kick in an hour or two after we get bored of this, and it seems that with the aggregation of experiences we have when we wake up, we lock it into our memory banks.

New sleeping infants spend half of their time in this state, while at 10 years of age the REM phase makes up about a quarter of their sleep. At age 50, about 15 percent of sleep periods involve this memory-forming dream.

We can imagine that children need REM sleep to make their developed brains flesh, packing it with experiences that will help them run on the ground when they get to their feet.

Then what happens the rest of the time? This down time is a good opportunity for the body to do a simple sweep and repair of Detritus. Not getting enough of it seems like a good way to collect waste that increases the risk of future neurological damage such as dementia.

But for what we know about sleep patterns, we are briefly on broader models that may help us better understand how and why it evolved in the first place.

Combining their expertise in neuroscience, biology, and mathematics, the researchers used data from the study of DME sleep to reflect some of the general rules on how we develop the general relationship between time spent in REM sleep and body size.

They found evidence of attachment to a physical group based on a scaled amount of sleep time. In young men the brain develops faster than the rest of the body, which requires more attention to building connections.

Yet the relationship between brain growth and the need for maintenance is proportional. As the brain becomes more or less closed, sleep often needs to be taken care of in relation to its size.

Early measurements of three other animals giving some insight into the development of rabbits, rats and guinea pigs have also been included.

This analysis revealed a surprising amount of compatibility between species, with the potential for a significant reduction in REM sleep over the next year. The fact that this change is so well-preserved suggests that its function may be crucial to mammalian development.

Find out if it is too early to draw any strong conclusions from the model dell on mammalian development in general, or whether it can be applied more broadly to other animals.

But having a mathematical approach like this opens up research to test whether the main transition to the primary purpose of sleep is a normal stage of development in the animal state, or if the human toddler brain is special in this regard.

“The brain is doing something really amazing and very different during that period,” says Savage.

“What are the consequences in terms of our ability to learn a language or adapt our brain to different situations?”

There’s a lot going on inside that little head. They – and you – have another reason to make sure you get a good night’s sleep as often as possible.

This research was published in Science progress.