It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, but it is more easily reversible than hibernation or coma. Sleep is a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems.
It is observed in all mammals, all birds, and many reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
The purposes and mechanisms of sleep are only partially clear and are the subject of intense research.
Sleep is often thought to help conserve energy, but actually decreases metabolism only about 5–10%.
Hibernating animals need to sleep despite the hypometabolism seen in hibernation, and in fact they must return from hypothermia to euthermy in order to sleep, making sleeping "energetically expensive.