Difference Between Sleep And Hibernation

Hibernate Vs. Sleep 

Due to the daily or seasonal periodicity of our planet, both sleep and hibernation are counter-responding actions, similar in literal ways but slightly different in their characteristics. Sleep is naturally a recurring state of mind and body, which decreases the ability to react to stimuli with reduced muscle activity and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles during Rapid Eye Movement (REM). On the other hand, hibernation is also a state of inactivity with metabolic depression in endothermic animals, which causes low-body temperature, slow breathing and heart rate, commonly occurring in winter months. The priority in the case of hibernation is to conserve energy when the resources are scarce.    

What Is The Meaning Of Sleep?

Sleep is a naturally recurring state in mammals characterized by altered consciousness; influenced by the circadian rhythm that results from Earth's rotation. It is a 24-hour circle in the physiological process of all living things. During sleep most of the body's systems are in an anabolic state, that heals the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. Sleep occurs in repeating periods in which the body alternates between REM sleep and non-REM sleep. A well-known feature of sleep is the dream which resembles waking life while in progress. Sleep is a vital process that maintains mood, memory and cognitive functions, and plays a large role in the function of the endocrine and immune systems. In sleep, humans perceive fewer stimuli, also 'sleep' helps to restore energy. Brain restores the supply of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to the areas with lower activity.

As discussed earlier sleep is divided into two broad categories- rapid eye movement sleep and non-rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep, also known as paradoxical sleep, is a smaller portion in your good night's sleep; it is the primary occasion for dreams or nightmares.   

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What Is The Meaning Of Hibernate?

Hibernation is a physiological response that can be seen in endothermic animals, especially during winter, characterized by low-body temperatures, slow breathing and heart rate and low metabolic rate for limited resources. Hibernating animals can drop their body temperature nearly to 0oCelsius. These animals are under a state of torpor and cannot be aroused easily. Hibernation, like sleep, begins with a non-REM stage. The equivalent of hibernation in the summer months is aestivation. Obligate hibernators such as ground squirrels, rodents, mouse lemurs, go to hibernation spontaneously regardless of ambient temperature and access of food. 'Facultative hibernators' such as prairie dogs, go to hibernation only when they are cold-stressed, food-deprived or both, unlike obligate hibernators. 

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What Is The Difference Between Sleep And Hibernate?

Some of the Key differences between Sleep and Hibernation are as Follows- 

Sleep

Hibernation

Respiratory Rate

During sleep, respiratory rate is reduced

During hibernation, respiratory rate drops massively compared to sleep. 

Rate of Heartbeat

During sleep, the rate of heartbeat is reduced

During hibernation, heartbeat rate is massively reduced and it is essential in keeping the metabolic rate in check.

Body Temperature

During sleep, body temperature may vary depending on the ambient temperature. 

During hibernation, body temperature can drop down to 0o Celsius. 

Metabolic Rate

Not susceptible during sleep.

Hibernation slows down the metabolic rate; it is one of the key priorities of hibernation.

Digestion

During sleep, digestion process is unaffected

During hibernation, the digestion process is hampered, and both urine and faeces are preserved to utilize nutrients. 

Time Duration

An average human sleep can last up to 8 hours; however in other animals sleep time is relatively lower than hibernation.

Hibernation can last up to multiple months or even years. It is relatively higher than sleep.  

Did You Know

When animals like bears, hedgehogs and bats hibernate they aren't sleeping, they are reserving energy as the resources are scarce. Some animals like dormice stuff their mouth before going into hibernation; they even become twice their previous size after coming out. Squirrels cannot hibernate because they cannot build up enough body fat to feed off. Snakes and lizards find an unused burrow to hibernate; this is called brumation.

Solved Examples

1. Describe Sleep and Hibernate in Short.

Due to the daily or seasonal periodicity of our planet, both sleep and hibernation can be seen as counter-responding actions, similar in literal ways but slightly different in their characteristics. Sleep is a naturally recurring state in mammals characterized by altered consciousness; it is influenced by the circadian rhythm that results from Earth's rotation.  Hibernation is a physiological response that can be seen in endothermic animals, especially during winter, characterized by low-body temperatures, slow breathing and heart rate and low metabolic rate for limited resources.

2. What is the difference between Sleep and Hibernation?

Sleep occurs for short periods of time on a regular basis, but hibernation takes up a longer period of time. Although both of these processes are performed to save energy but hibernation is almost becoming half-dead. In short, hibernation is a long-term sleep. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1.  What do You Mean by Hibernation?

Ans: Hibernation is a physiological response that can be seen in endothermic animals such as bats, especially during winter, characterized by low-body temperatures, slow breathing and heart rate and low metabolic rate for limited resources. Hibernating animals can drop their body temperature nearly to 0oCelsius. These animals are under a state of torpor and cannot be aroused easily. Hibernation, like sleep, begins with a non-REM stage. Obligate hibernators such as ground squirrels, rodents, mouse lemurs, go to hibernation spontaneously regardless of ambient temperature and access of food. Facultative hibernators go to hibernation only when they are cold-stressed, food-deprived or both and have limited resources.

2. Does Hibernate Mean Sleep?

Ans: Though hibernation is a long-term sleep and both have some similar purposes, these two processes are different, and of the key factors at play here are the time duration, metabolic rate, heart rate etc. Sleep is a naturally recurring state in mammals characterized by altered consciousness, and influenced by the circadian rhythm that results from Earth's rotation. Hibernation is a physiological response found in endothermic animals, especially during winter, characterized by low-body temperatures, slow breathing and heart rate and low metabolic rate for limited resources. Hibernation, for endothermic animals such as bats and snakes, is an essential survival mechanism against scarce resources.