Light, sleep and performance in diurnal birds
journal contributionposted on 02.03.2021, 02:05 by Anne AulsebrookAnne Aulsebrook, Robin JohnssonRobin Johnsson, John LeskuJohn Lesku
Sleep has a multitude of benefits and is generally considered necessary for optimal performance. Disruption of sleep by extended photoperiods, moonlight and artificial light could therefore impair performance in humans and non-human animals alike. Here, we review the evidence for effects of light on sleep and subsequent performance in birds. There is accumulating evidence that exposure to natural and artificial sources of light regulates and suppresses sleep in diurnal birds. Sleep also benefits avian cognitive performance, including during early development. Nevertheless, multiple studies suggest that light can prolong wakefulness in birds without impairing performance. Although there is still limited research on this topic, these results raise intriguing questions about the adaptive value of sleep. Further research into the links between light, sleep and performance, including the underlying mechanisms and consequences for fitness, could shed new light on sleep evolution and urban ecology.