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In this paper, we investigate the available energy-efficient Medium Access Control protocols for wireless sensor networks emphasizing on their energy saving methods and present a simple but effective energy efficient MAC protocol named AEEMAC (Adaptive Energy Efficient MAC protocol). Like SMAC, AEEMAC also employs a duty cycling to save energy by avoiding idle listening, but incorporates three additional optimizations to further improve energy efficiency at MAC layer. These optimizations are - (i) adaptive sleeping and reusing of channel, (ii) use of combined `SYNC-RTS' control packet, and (iii) use of combined `ACK-RTS' control packet in bidirectional and multihop data transmission. The energy efficiency of AEEMAC is demonstrated for single hop as well as multihop scenarios through a detailed simulation study in NS-2. Simulation results show the suitability of AEEMAC in extending network lifetime of WSNs as compared to SMAC.