Humans are unable to get enough sleep now a days and seem suffering from sleep problems. Now, scientists hope using activity monitors to study how and why animals sleep will help us get a better night’s rest.
Wits University’s Professor Paul Manger and his colleagues are using a tracker called an Actiwatch to study elephant sleep patterns in Botswana. They removed the watches’ bands, insulated them with electrical tape and biologically inert wax, then attached them to the elephants’ trunks.
The trunk is the most mobile appendage, Manger said, and if it’s still for more than five minutes it’s reasonable to assume the animal is asleep.
Researchers used the loggers and GPS collars and found the elephants slept for two hours per day on average. They slept standing up most of the time, only lying down for about an hour every three or four days.
The experiment made them able to go into REM sleep, which means elephants possibly don’t dream on a daily basis. The team also discovered the pachyderms could go without snoozing for up to 48 hours when disturbed by predators or poachers.
Instead, they’d walk up to 18 miles away from the disturbance, giving up a night’s sleep to avoid danger.
According to the previous researches zoo elephants almost take four hours sleep per day, either standing or lying down. If this new study is confirmed, wild elephants will have the shortest-known sleep time of any land mammal.
Manger told “Understanding how different animals sleep is important for two reasons.”
“First, it helps us to understand the animals themselves and discover new information that may aid the development of better management and conservation strategies, and, second, knowing how different animals sleep and why they do so in their own particular way, helps us to understand how humans sleep, why we do, and how we might get a better night’s sleep,” he elaborated.