The Science of Sleeping Beauty


Every living thing needs sleep. This is fact.

“Sleeping must have some benefit, otherwise why would humans and other animals spend so much time asleep?”  (Psychology A2 – The Complete Companion.)

I knew there was a reason I was hanging onto that book!

I LOVE my sleep. In fact LOVE isn’t even strong enough to summarise my feelings for my sleep! I dont get to bed early enough – guilty – but I sleep in late and could probably doze all day if I could! I think most of the population out there would agree there is no better feeling than a brilliant nights sleep. After a deep, undisturbed sleep I wake up in the morning feeling energised and ready! When I don’t get enough, or I wake up in the night, I feel groggy, bad-tempered and sluggish for the best part of that following day.
Sleep MUST therefore be doing super important things to my brain in the night. It must.
My mood and daily-outlook depends on it.

So there’s me (fully refreshed after a nights sleep), looking in on my cutie Casper, sound asleep. He is kind of unique in the fact that I can pick him up and put him down elsewhere and he will remain asleep. He is what the opposite of a light-sleeper is. I guess that makes him a heavy-sleeper but it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well to me. It really takes a lot for something to wake him up fully which is unusual for a mammal.

The reason for sleep has many explanations; some more scientific than others. In psychology, one theory of sleep is evolutionary. Sleep is required for energy conservation and even is thought of as an instinctive predator-avoidance tactic. In simple terms, if you stay still for long enough (say sleeping?) scary creatures that want to eat you may not see you.  Quite how have I got from Casper, peacefully snoozing, to evolutionary theories I am not 100% sure but basically if I was a big scary predator, Casper would be my lunch and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t even wake up quick enough to make it tricky for me!

The fact I can pick him up and him to remain fast asleep is weird. As a pet-owner I feel very trusted – he knows I am not a threat. But for mammals, isn’t it passed down genetic instincts to wake up if something touches you?, let alone picks you up! I sound like I wait till he’s asleep before waking him up. I don’t, but sometimes he looks so cute and I cant help but cuddle him! He stays asleep in my hand so I could put him back and he would wake up knowing no different.
Its odd.

Dexter sleeps heavily too. Then again he does run marathons every night. He needs all the sleep he can get! Even he wakes up if his cage is opened. He may not be very alert, but that’s because he has grown with me as an owner to know that I am no trouble to him.

I sometimes can’t help but feel we have taken out the natural instincts within these rodents by domesticating them? Casper would be less than hopeless in the wild; he’d fall asleep and wake up in some predators belly before he’d even knew what happened! I know thats exactly what pets are for; domesticating. But it makes me feel a bit ‘not-sad but thoughtful’ when I know that he practically goes against his nature to stay asleep when “threatened”.

Either that, or he is just a lazy bugger who had a late one. 😉

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Categories: animals, General, Hamsters, science | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “The Science of Sleeping Beauty

  1. Pingback: A Warning sort of thought: « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

  2. Chani @ pearls,lace and pancakes

    It sounds like Casper does have a few strange habits. Then again, so does Heston, he pulls the poop out of his own bum. Gross, I know. Please don’t tell him I told you.

    I somewhat agree about the domestication thing, but it’s worth remembering that the hamsters we buy are the result of almost 300 years of breeding in captivity. Over those years, the hamsters have evolved to living in with humans – they no longer need to be so alert, because generally, humans take care of them. Perhaps Casper is more evolved!

    • :O Dexter does that poop thing too! I always thought he was a weirdo ;D hahaha, oh wow I didnt know it had been such a long process. Hahaha Casper will love you for calling him more evolved. Hes a right naughty hamster, and I will be posting a video in the next few days of his newest craze – prepare to giggle is all I will say! 😛

      • Chani @ pearls,lace and pancakes

        Literally cannot wait. Could it be as good as the prize draw video? My mum watched it and very nearly slipped off her chair laughing!

        I’m SO glad another hamster does the poop thing! I really thought he was the only one, because my friend has a girl hamster that doesn’t do it. Phew!

        • Hmmm you shall have to be the judge of that 😛 I am curious to know if Heston does this certain behaviour too 😀
          Hahahaha, oh no I have never seen Eve do it, but Dexter has a talent of flicking them as far as his cage reaches.. Dirty boys! ;P

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