Whales and dolphins are conscious breathers, meaning they have to consciously think to breathe, unlike humans, who breathe involuntarily. However, this makes sleeping difficult, as it is necessary to rest the brain but you can’t do that if you need to think to breathe. The solution is to have half the brain sleep at a time, drifting along at or near the surface. Dolphins are apparently in this state 8 hours a day.
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