How Do Dolphins Sleep At Night? How Various Animals and Sea Creatures Sleep


Have you ever thought about how different animals get their beauty sleep each day or night? Since we, as humans, just plop in our bed and doze off, it’s very interesting to learn how various animals and sea creatures have such different approaches to getting sleep.

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Since dolphins have to breathe regularly and they can’t do so while under water, they only allow half of their brains to sleep at a time. They can’t go into a deep sleep or they will suffocate, so they either swim slowly in their sleep and occasionally go up for a breath or doze off with their blowhole above the water so they can breathe.

Since they’re so large and slow, they can’t really afford to sleep much in the wild, so giraffes generally only sleep about 2 hours a day but can go for weeks without sleeping a wink.

These fascinating creatures sleep upside down to help them fly away if any threat presents itself while they’re sleeping. They aren’t strong enough to take off and fly from a standing position, so that’s why they are almost always seen upside down.

Most birds sleep with half of their brain shut off at a time, just like dolphins. One eye will be closed and resting while the other remains open and alert. Their legs lock and their toes close tightly so they don’t lose their grip and fall while asleep.

This bird hangs out around the water most of the time, but it would be easy prey if it were to sleep in or near the water. Instead, the albatross sleeps while it flies around—it’s one of the only birds who can do so.

While they sometimes sleep on the shore, walruses are equipped with giant air sacs under their throats that they can blow up whenever they please. This inflated air sac will keep their heads afloat so they can take a snooze in the water.

Some kinds of baboons sleep at the very tops of trees while only resting on their heels. This position keeps them alert in the case of danger and the location reduces the likelihood of a threat.

These tiny animals hibernate for six months each year, occasionally waking to snack on food that they have stored nearby. During naps, the dormouse will rest on a small branch with the assurance that any potential threat would shake the branch and wake it up.

Great White Sharks
While great white shark sleeping habits are some of the least researched, scientists do know that they have to continue moving while they sleep in order to keep oxygen moving through their gills. Great whites have often been seen lying on ocean floors and in dormant-like states.

Some seals sleep with half of their brain at a time, keeping them breathing and moving while asleep. But all seals need REM sleep that they only get when they’re completely asleep, which needs to occur either on land or at the surface of the water.

While they sleep, otters are known to loop their tails around seaweed to keep them from moving and to keep their heads above water to breathe.

Because they’re so big and wouldn’t have time to get up and escape in the event of an attack, elephants often sleep standing up. They lock their legs to keep from falling over.

Due to the lack of seating areas in their typical habitats, flamingos sleep standing up on one leg. Only half of their brain is asleep during their rest, since their muscles need to be alert enough to keep them upright.

Since they’re easy prey, penguins don’t sleep for long periods of time all at once. Instead, they take short naps, often while they’re standing up or swimming, or huddled in large groups for protection and warmth.

Mallard Ducks
These animals often sleep in groups, arranged in a nice row. The ducks on the outside will snooze with one eye open while the ducks on the inside achieve a deeper sleep.


The more we learn about how other animals sleep, the more interesting our own sleep habits become. Sit ‘n Sleep is committed to helping you get your best night of sleep with our great selection of mattresses, bedroom furniture, bed accessories, pillows, bedding, and more.



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