Mike Bonsall and the key to better sleep

Mike Bonsall and the key to better sleep

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Research by Prof Mike Bonsall, Fellow and Tutor in Biological Sciences at St Peter's and Professor of Mathematical Biology, has been published in the journal PLOS One, showing that better sleep is linked with the strength of one's family tree.

Using mathematical modelling to investigate the adaptive significance of sleep and assess if it impacts ‘fitness’, the research, which was co-authored with Jared Field, a postgraduate student in the Oxford Mathematical Institute, suggests that in all conditions a sleeping strategy led to greater fitness compared to being constantly active. When birth rates were altered but mortality kept constant, they found that a sleeping strategy achieved a greater fitness than staying active indefinitely. In a safe sleeping environment it was best to be most active when mortality was lowest, where as in a vulnerable environment the reverse was true.

Having established a logical understanding of the evolution of sleep and the factors that underpin its value, Prof Bonsall intends to investigate further the ecological and demographic factors that make or break the difference between a good, productive sleep pattern and a bad one.

More information about the research published in PLOS One is available here.