This chapter addresses the question of whether humans have a biological need to sleep. To answer that question, research is presented about the earliest evolutionary context of human sleep. The sleep patterns of various animal species are discussed, along with several theories that have been devised over the years to explain these patterns. The chapter emphasizes both the variability of sleep in nature, and its consistency across all species. The behavioral patterns of human sleep, which have been shaped by millions of years of evolutionary history, are the framework for a scientific approach to the study of dreaming and its relevance to religion, which is the overall goal of the book.
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