Would you rather sleep upside-down or only two hours a night?
Do you know why bats sleep upside down? Or that a giraffe sleeps for only an hour or two each day, and a tiger spends two-thirds of his life snoozing? Sleep habits and schedules vary widely among members of the wild kingdom, but almost every animal exhibits some form of sleep-wake cycle, according to howsleepworks.com.
Sleep Positions Are Indications of How Animals Interact With Their Environment
Sleep positions are a good indication of how an animal interacts with its environment. According to the Huffington Post, bats sleep upside down because this posture allows them to depart quickly if there's danger. Also, bats must fall into flight because their wings are too weak to lift them from a standing position.
In general, herbivorous animals that sleep in the open, such as giraffes and other hoofed animals, sleep considerably less than carnivorous animals, such as tigers and other big cats. This is because herbivores must spend more time foraging for food, leaving them less time to rest.They are also more likely to be prey, so they must stay vigilant, sleeping only for short periods of time.
7 Fun Facts About Animal Sleeping Behaviors
- BBC nature reporter Ella Davies tells us that the slow moving sloth has a reputation for sleeping a lot, but they actually only snooze about nine to 10 hours a day. Some animals are asleep more often than they're awake, including the koala bear, which sleeps for 14.5 hours, the opossum, which sleeps for 18 hours, and the little brown bat sleeps for nearly 20 hours.
- At the other end of the spectrum is the giraffe, which needs only an hour or two of shut-eye and can sometimes go for weeks without sleep. Other animals requiring little sleep are the horse, elephant and sheep, all of which nap for about three to four hours per day.
- Mother Nature Network reports that when whales and dolphins snooze, half of their brain remains awake to prevent them from drowning. This is called unihemispheric sleep.
- A few species of birds, such as the swift, can actually catch a few winks while gliding at high altitudes, according to naturepods.com. Penguins have also been found to sleep for brief periods of time while swimming during long migrations.
- Cats spend more time sleeping than dogs do, with the former snoozing for about 12.5 hours and the latter for 10.1 hours.
- Cows prefer to sleep with their closest kin, and their hierarchy within the group will determine how they settle down for the night, according to Mother Nature Network.
- Sea otters sleep while floating on their backs.They wrap themselves in strands of kelp to stay anchored and will even hold hands to keep from floating apart from their group.
Scientists believe researching the sleep patterns and habits of animals will lead to improvements in treating human sleep disorders and may even provide new clues to understanding the human brain. Although many animals are perfectly adapted to sleep standing up or wrapped around tree branches, humans need a supportive mattress and a calm, comfortable environment to get the sleep they need to stay healthy.