Thursday, November 26, 2009

Talking Turkey Sleep

A lot of turkeys will be sleeping well today. They can finally get some rest now that the Thanksgiving season is ending.

So how do turkeys sleep? Researchers in Mexico studied wild turkeys -
Meleagris gallopavo - to find out.

study shows that the turkeys had a “polyphasic” sleep pattern. They slept multiple times in a 24-hour period. But these sleep periods tended to concentrate between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

Overall, the sleep period of turkeys occupied about 46 percent of the day-night cycle. Almost all of the sleep period involved slow wave sleep.

The turkeys had very short episodes of rapid eye movement sleep – or REM sleep. The average duration of the REM sleep phase lasted about 7.7 seconds.

But the frequency of REM sleep periods was high. Turkeys had an average of 268 phases of REM sleep during the day-night cycle.

The authors report that the sleep characteristics of turkeys are similar to other bird species. Learn more about
sleep and birds.

Read more about
sleep and animals. Find out how much other animals sleep on the Neuroscience for Kids Web site.

Image by Matt Knoth

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