Spiders may dream and have REM-like sleep stages, just like humans

Although spiders cannot move their eyes like humans and some mammals, they can move their retinas. Therefore, by observing jumping spiders, the scientists observed the retinal movements of spiderlings as their cobwebs hang themselves with silk threads to rest at night. According to the research team’s report, the spiderlings’ retinal movement bouts were said to be consistent.

The scientists aren’t ready to declare that jumping spiders are dreaming, but Roessler called the possibility “exhilarating.” “We need to have a closer look at how universal REM sleep and REM-like behaviors might be across the animal kingdom,” Roessler tweeted. “There are likely many things we can learn from this, since even in humans REM sleep is still a big mystery.”

What is REM sleep?

Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep or REMS), the dreaming phase of sleep. It gets its name from the rapid movement of the eyes during this time. Rapid eye movement sleep is also called as paradoxical sleep or asynchronous sleep. REM sleep was first described by Dement and Kleitman in 1957. During REM sleep, the release of serotonin and norepinephrine is low, while the release of acetylcholine is dominant. The brain region that controls REM sleep is considered to be the midpoints of the brain stem. Although the duration of this sleep period varies from person to person, it lasts between 5-30 minutes and is repeated every 90-120 minutes. In a normal night’s sleep, it is seen to be repeated 4-6 times.

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