Animals and Their Sleep Patterns

Animals and Their Sleep Patterns

Do fish sleep? How long do cats sleep? Can a horse sleep in a standing position? Know what are the sleep patterns of animals.

Most living creatures need to replenish their energy, be it through food, natural light, or sleep. But different living organisms have different sleeping postures and require sleeping for a specific time period to keep them going. However, every creature has its own sleeping habits, which can last from a few hours up to a few years. Here we are about to discuss the sleeping habits of a few creatures and how they differ from human beings.


Snails are hermaphrodites and are known for their bizarre sleeping habits. These creatures can sleep for a couple of hours up to three years. Researchers reveal that the sleep cycle of snails follows a two to three day period as opposed to the 24-hour cycle of human beings. They will experience seven periods of sleep over the initial 13 to 15 hours, followed by 30 hours of alertness. In addition to that, they can even hibernate to survive in inclement weather and avoid starvation. These creatures withdraw into their shells and secrete a layer of mucus, which helps them survive until food becomes available or the weather restores to normal.


Cats, on average, sleep 15 hours per day. However, they are capable of sleeping up to 20 hours within a 24-hour period. Since cats are natural predators, they complete most of their sleeping during the day and are active at night. Cats and other members of the cat family prefer to curl up their body while sleeping. Research studies show that only about 25 percent of cats undergo deep sleep while the rest 75 percent are just lightly snoozing.


While most people think that fishes don’t sleep are completely wrong. The reason fish need sleep is to rest their bodies. It is quite easy to observe a mammalian creature sleeping, but it is slightly difficult to spot a fish sleeping. Since fishes don’t have eyelids, they don’t show signs of rapid eye movement. The majority of the fishes stay alert to potential danger even when they are sleeping so that they can make a quick escape if need be. Some fishes drift with just an occasional flick of the fin; others hide in caves and amongst corals while some nestle into the substrate.


Like cattle and a few other animals, horses are capable of sleeping in a standing position. Such a sleeping posture is due to a series of bones and leg ligaments called “stay apparatus” that enables animals like zebras and giraffes to lock their legs while sleeping. However, horses cannot take REM sleep unless they lie down. Unlike humans, horses need only 5 to 7 hours of rest, out of which only one hour is REM sleep. The age of the horse also influences their sleeping habits. While foals can sleep through half of the day, the oldest horses require only a couple of hours of sleep.


There are differences between the ways humans and other animals sleep, but the underlying motive is the same, i.e., to restore and revive their energy to perform their daily activities. However, the number of hours of sleep solely depends on the animal concerned.