Do any other animals get insomnia?
Insomnia in humans is one of the most commonly reported sleep problems, but what about in other animals?
Other animals display insomnia-like behaviour. For example, in a seminal study it was found that when male rats were rehomed from their individual cages into those of other male rats, they displayed what resembled stress-induced insomnia. Furthermore, ‘insomnia-like flies’ take longer than others to fall asleep and maintain sleep to a lesser extent.
Despite this, the authors of an excellent review of animal models of sleep disorders noted that insomnia involves an inability to sleep – however, it is not clear whether these animals are attempting and failing to sleep. Additionally, insomnia involves a subjective component (best assessed by asking someone about their sleep) which creates obvious challenges when it is considered in non-human animals.
- Do any other animals get male pattern baldness?
- Do any other animals have religion?
- Do animals give each other names?
- Do any other animals play music?
Asked by: Jenny Edwards, via email
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Alice is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths. She has contributed to several diverse research areas, including the longitudinal associations between sleep and psychopathology, behavioural genetics, sleep paralysis and exploding head syndrome. In addition to her scientific contributions she also excels in the public engagement of science. She has published two popular science book (Nodding Off, Bloomsbury, 2018 and Sleepy Pebble, Nobrow, 2019). She regularly contributes articles to the media and has had her work published in outlets including the Guardian, GQ UK, Sud Ouest, Slate Fr, Independent.
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