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Toronto scientists study sleep in seals

Brain chemicals to be scrutinized

Researchers at the University of Toronto say a new study on sleep patterns in seals could help explain what allows humans to get some shut-eye.

Researchers teamed up with biologists at UCLA and found that seals are able to both sleep and stay awake at the same time.

They say one half of a seal’s brain shuts down when they sleep in water while the other remains awake and on the lookout for possible danger.

The study authors say the findings may help guide research into the factors that control human sleep.

Studying a brain with both a sleeping and wakeful side can give scientists clues as to which chemicals are more heavily involved in the sleep cycle.

Early research suggests, for instance, that serotonin may play a less important role than scientists believed.

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