Sleeping Habits of Animals


There are animals that nap under water or even turn off their brains! Some even sleep for 20 hours a day! Sounds great, right? At night, we turn left or right, or sleep on our backs or bellies. There is a lot more variety in the animal kingdom. In this article, you’ll find out which animals hold the record for sleeping. You will also learn about animals that don’t sleep very much and 11 surprising sleeping techniques in the animal kingdom!

Animals That Sleep the Most
AnimalSleep per day
Big Brown Bat20 hours
Sloth15 – 20 hours
Hedgehog18 – 20 hours
Armadillo18,5 hours
Cat16 hours
Koala14 hours

Animals that Don’t Sleep or Only Sleep a Little

No time to sleep? If we only slept for three hours a day, we would develop serious health problems.

Animals That Sleep the Most
AnimalSleep per day
Horse  3 hours
Wasp2 – 3 hours
Giraffe1 – 2 hours
Okapi30 seconds

11 Funny Sleeping Habits in the Animal Kingdom

Blub blub! Sleeping under water? It might be hard for us to imagine, but it’s quite normal for animals. Many doze in caves or rocky crevices. The following animals have come up with special sleeping arrangements.

  1. Hippos and Sea Cows… Just Let Themselves Sink

Hippos love spending time in water. Everyone knows that. They don’t take to land to sleep, they just let their 4 ton weight sink to the bottom and snooze there under the water. At least nobody can hear them snore down there! Sea cows don’t just sleep underwater, they do it upside down. Doesn’t it make them sick? Both have to surface now and then to breathe.

  1. Sharks On Standby

Sharks have to constantly keep swimming, because they don’t get any oxygen if no water flows through their gills. To make sure they get a good sleep, they reduce their brain function. You could say that they put themselves on “standby mode”.

  1. Dolphins Just Switch Off

If there were a “Guinness book of weird sleeping habits”, dolphins would definitely be in it. These animals sleep with half of their brains, with the other half still switched on. After 1 – 2 hours, they switch sides and sleep with the other side. This technique would be great in school. Tip: put the left half of your brain to sleep during math as you only need the right to add up! Dolphins always keep one eye open (literally) so they can look after one another. If a dolphin forgets to breathe, it will get a little nudge from its friends.

  1. Orangutans Tie Themselves Up

Orangutans thread their fingers and toes around branches so they don’t fall out of their tree nests.

  1. Koalas Hold on For Dear Life

Ever fallen out of bed at night? Other animals don’t like that kind of nasty surprise either, so they’ve come up with unusual tricks to avoid it. Koalas cram themselves into forks in eucalyptus branches so they don’t fall out (sounds comfy).

  1. An Okapi’s Sleep Is Short But Deep

The okapi holds a record: this forest giraffe might find a place to sleep and spend around 6 hours there, but it only gets 30 seconds of deep sleep. It repeats it around 10 times a night.

  1. Swifts Fall Asleep at the Wheel

The swift spends almost 3 years in the air. They catch prey in the air, eat in the air and sleep in the air! This method is also used by some migratory birds that have to fly all day long over open water to get to their summer/winter homes. They fall asleep at the wheel, so to speak. It’s only ok for animals to do it!

  1. Sperm Whales Don’t Notice Anything

Unlike dolphins, sperm whales sleep with both halves of their brains. They sleep upright (!!!) in the ocean with their heads pointing upwards. They sleep so deeply that they don’t even notice boats.

  1. Birds Cramp Up

When we humans relax, our muscles loosen and lengthen. It’s the other way around in birds. The muscles in their feet/claws tense when they relax. They can sit and sleep on an electrical cable in complete safety.

  1. Basilisks Use a Trap

Basilisks (a lizard) climb onto the end of a branch hanging over the sea to sleep. If a predator comes close, while the basilisk is dreaming of tasty insects, the branch starts to wobble. The basilisk falls into the water, out of harm’s way. And freshly showered too!

. Hoofed Animals are Too Scared to Lie Down

It might be unthinkable to us humans but many hoofed animals don’t lie down to sleep. It could have a nasty ending for flight animals such as antelopes. By the time they’d stood up, the lion would already have its snack in its paws. To make sure this doesn’t happen, they stay in their herds, appoint guards and sleep standing up. And: although adult elephants and rhinos don’t have much to fear, they can’t sleep lying down because their own weight would put too much pressure on their lungs.


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