CZAAWE Resource Article

The energetic savings of sleep versus temperature in the Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis) at three ecologically relevant temperatures
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
One of the proposed ecological functions of sleep is to conserve energy. The majority of studies that support this theory have been done on endothermic animals whose body temperatures drop during sleep due to the reduced neurological control of thermoregulation. In the present study, we examined typical temperatures to which the Desert Iguana, Dipsosaurus dorsalis, is exposed to in the field and found that mean high temperatures ranged from 24–58 °C throughout the active portion of the year. We also examined the ecological savings that sleep could provide for this ectothermic iguana using a closed system respirometer. We found that laboratory-acclimated iguanas are able to save significantly more (27.6%) energy by sleeping than by being awake and that field iguanas also had significant savings of energy (69.1%) while asleep. However, iguanas could save more energy by remaining awake at cooler temperatures than by sleeping at warmer temperatures. In addition, we found no correlation for time of night with metabolic rate. Our study supports the hypothesis that one potential function of sleep is to conserve energy.