Difference Between Sleep And Hibernation

Hibernation refers to a season of heterothermy characterized by low body temperatures, slow breathing and heart rate and low metabolic rate. In this, the animals conserve enough energy throughout the dormant period. On the contrary, sleep is promoted by the internal circadian clock primarily at night for diurnal animals and in the day for nocturnal animals.

Another major difference between sleep and hibernation is that all metabolic activities shut down or at least slow down considerably. For example, bears that hibernate do not urinate or defecate. Instead, the body reabsorbs the digestive contents to preserve nutrients.

Let us have a detailed look at the important difference between sleep and hibernation.

Also Read: Pineal Gland

Sleep vs Hibernation

Here are the major differences between sleep and hibernation:

Difference Between Sleep And Hibernation
Sleep Hibernation
Respiratory rate
It is reduced It goes down drastically compared to sleep
Body temperature
May be regulated according to their surrounding ambient temperature Considerably lower, sometimes reaching 0°C
Rate of heartbeat
Is lowered Very low and this is essential to reduce the metabolic rate during hibernation
Time Duration
Sleep duration is shorter than hibernation Duration of hibernation is much longer, often months together
Metabolic rate
The metabolic rate is unaffected The metabolic rate slows down considerably to conserve energy
The digestion process is unaffected Digestion process stops and both urine and faeces are reabsorbed to preserve and utilize nutrients

What is Hibernation?

Hibernation is a physiological response used by organisms during times of hardships, especially, long cold winters. It is a kind of laziness and metabolic unhappiness among the organisms. As the outside temperature decreases during winters, so does the body temperature of most of the reptiles and amphibians. This compels them to go into the extreme depths of ponds and hide under the mud for a long sleep. This is known as hibernation. When the outside temperature increases and their body temperature becomes normal, they come out of the long sleep. For eg., bears, lizards, etc.

But some organisms just adapt to the situation and others may migrate or move to other favourable places. A good example of this is zoo animals: even though winter sets in, the animals in the zoo do not hibernate because they have a constant source of food and water. Even their enclosures are temperature regulated. Hence, there is no need to conserve energy, and thereby, forgoing hibernation.

What is Sleep?

Sleep is observed in most of the mammals, birds, reptiles, etc. This happens in response to the circadian clock. The circadian rhythm determines our sleep patterns. It is a 24-hour cycle in the physiological process of living beings. All the metabolic activities continue at the same rate while you are asleep.

Also Read: Difference between Hibernation and Aestivation

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