Human Hibernation

Techniche, IIT Guwahati
2 min readJan 20, 2023

Don’t you find the thought of being able to hibernate intriguing? Imagine having uninterrupted sleep during the chilly, dry winters.

The answer is complicated.

For a variety of reasons, humans did not evolve to hibernate. Nevertheless, we may carry the possibility in our genes from our distant ancestors.

Why human hibernation?

The emergence of long-distance space flight may be one reason to learn more, in addition to offering a practical option to avoid winter. With current technology, a trip to Mars, our closest planet, would take around eight months. This is the reason why space agencies are pouring their money to find a way for human hibernation.

Humans may be able to withstand life-threatening situations including heart attack, stroke, and blood loss by hibernating. Additionally, organ transplant recipients might benefit.

How do animals hibernate?

Torpor is a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility.

Many animals hibernate by going into a state of torpor, which drastically inhibits their bodily functioning and relies on body fat reserves for energy.

Controlling body temperature is the core of hibernation. Animals enter a low-metabolic condition of “torpor” when their body temperature drops, during which they essentially stop needing food.

Body temperature can drop and other vital signs such as heart rate, respiration, and energy expenditure all drastically decrease.

This is how animals can hibernate for long winters.

Can humans hibernate?

The ancestor of all animals, including humans, hibernated. Some people think this signifies that we can once again make humans hibernate through science.

Some scientists seem to think that the reason our ancestors were able to hibernate during the mass asteroid extinction may be why we survived. Perhaps we were mammals living underground before radiation. According to evolutionary genetics, all mammals have hibernating ancestors.

However, humans probably do not hibernate because we lost that trait in genetic evolution as it is probably not the most advantageous trait. Why? You may wonder.

Here is why:

If we are in torpor, we won’t be able to reproduce which might lead to other species overthrowing humans. The other disadvantage could be being unable to defend ourselves from predators.

Are there any possibilities?

Therapeutic hypothermia is a technique for reducing your body temperature that is already used by Medical professionals. Metabolic functions, such as breathing and blood circulation, are slowed down as a result.

Torpor or hibernation is not the same as medical hypothermia. However, there is a possibility people may be able to hibernate in the future using controlled hypothermia.

However tempting human hibernation may sound, it is accompanied by its own risks. Going into hibernation is one thing and getting out of it safely is another.

Would you like to hibernate if we discover a way to hibernate?



Techniche, IIT Guwahati

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