ETYM Cf. French hibernation.
State of dormancy in which certain animals spend the winter. It is associated with a dramatic reduction in all metabolic processes, including body temperature, breathing, and heart rate. It is a fallacy that animals sleep throughout the winter.
The body temperature of the arctic ground squirrel falls to below 0şC/32şF during hibernation. Hibernating bats may breath only once every 45 minutes, and can go for up to 2 hours without taking a breath.
1. Cessation from or slowing of activity during the winter; especially slowing of metabolism in some animals.
2. The act of retiring into inactivity.
3. The torpid or resting state in which some animals pass the winter.
ETYM as. slaep; akin to OFries. slęp, os. slâp, Dutch slaap, Old High Germ. slâf, German schlaf, Goth. slęps. Related to Sleep.
State of natural unconsciousness and activity that occurs at regular intervals in most mammals and birds, though there is considerable variation in the amount of time spent sleeping. Sleep differs from hibernation in that it occurs daily rather than seasonally, and involves less drastic reductions in metabolism. The function of sleep is unclear. People deprived of sleep become irritable, uncoordinated, forgetful, hallucinatory, and even psychotic.
In humans, sleep is linked with hormone levels and specific brain electrical activity, including delta waves, quite different from the brain's waking activity. rem (rapid eye movement) phases, associated with dreams, occur at regular intervals during sleep, when the eyes move rapidly beneath closed lids.
Species that do not have distinct periods of sleep (most invertebrates and fishes, for example) have short intervals of reduced activity throughout a given 24-hour period. Extensive periods of sleep may have developed to make animals inconspicuous at times when they would be vulnerable to predators.
1. A natural and periodic state of rest during which consciousness of the world is suspended; SYN. slumber.
2. A period of time spent sleeping; SYN. nap.
3. A torpid state resembling sleep.