Give Now  »

Noon Edition

Sleepless in Dolphintown

Can you imagine lasting an entire month without sleep?

Believe it or not, newborn dolphins and killer whales have been observed to do just that.

After birth they're continuously active for their first month of life. It's not until a month later that they begin incorporating naps into their routine. Eventually, they develop an adult sleeping pattern, which consists of about five to eight hours of sleep a day.

Scientists think that these creatures' time without sleep might provide the newborns with better protection from predators, as well as from water temperatures. Being on the move might maintain the newborn's body temperature until it gains weight and blubber.

The mothers of the newborns give up their own sleep the first month of their offspring's life to care for the little ones.

What might surprise you more than the willingness to go without sleep though is the ability to do it. You wouldn't think that a creature that normally sleeps five to eight hours a day could suddenly switch off sleep like that and survive.

This discovery has got scientists wondering if other mammals, including ourselves, might also have some hidden ability to survive without sleep.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science