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There are many aspects of everyday life that remind us that the human being is also an animal. One of them is sleep. For us it is essential, its deficiency can lead to health problems as well as a poor quality of life and if we go and look how animals sleep and how much, it is also essential for them. It is a question of recovering the energies that will then be used to hunt and survive, to raise their young, and they more instinctively than us know that they should not be wasted at all. It is a "personal" question but also of conservation of the species. If for humans, getting enough sleep means 7-8 hours a day, for animals this amount varies a lot. As? This is what we will discover by telling the habits of the most interesting species and not all of them remain helpless like us while they rest!
How much do animals sleep: whales and dolphins
Both of these animals they never rest 100%, they never "turn off" their heads but one of the two hemispheres of the brain remains on, alternately, allowing them to breathe on one side and on the other so as not to be taken by surprise by any predators. However, there is a big difference in amount of sleep between these two creatures. The whale goes around 8 hours a day, as we should too, and meanwhile it swims and comes back to the surface every now and then to breathe. The dolphin is more sleepy, resting for 10 hours a day and staying close to the surface so it can breathe easily.
How animals sleep: carnivores and herbivores
Carnivores on average sleep more than herbivores which normally have a strong need to defend themselves from attacks by predators who hope to catch them unprepared when they are resting.
A rather classic example is that of the Lion, our king of the forest who, like a true king, can afford to sleep over 12 hours, up to 14. Among the felines he is not even the most sleepyhead, the tiger beats him reaching 16 hours while the cheetah has more measure and sleeps 12 hours. Let's move on to a domestic feline that spends about half a day lazing around, usually at intervals, when it prefers and where it prefers, more or less like the dog that takes a nap with light sleep for a total of 10-11 hours. The pig he eats less than these two animals but not because he is particularly active, his main problem is that he has to find time to eat everything he wants so he never goes beyond 8 hours. The Chimpanzee despite being the most similar to man ape, it allows itself a little more hours of sleep, about 10.
How much do animals sleep: curiosity
Let's start by naming the most sleepy animal and the most "sleepless" one.
The Giraffe rests very little during its day or even does not sleep for weeks and weeks, maybe it takes a few naps for a couple of hours putting itself in strange positions like only the giraffe with its long neck.
At the opposite end of the animal kingdom as regards sleep is the brown vespertilio, a small bat widespread in North America that sleeps almost 20 hours a day, over 80% of its day. The remaining time is mostly spent eating, otherwise it could not survive.
Now that we have met the two sleep champions, let's see other curiosities.
For example, migrating birds have a sleep cycle that follows the change of seasons and when they move they can afford fewer hours of rest, as you can imagine. You have often heard the saying "sleep standing up like a horse ". That's right, this animal together with the zebras and elephants, can rest on their feet but only for three hours. Uncomfortable? Maybe a little, but in this way they are sure to be able to flee promptly in case of enemy attack. Depending on age, habits sometimes change, this is evident in dolphins that never sleep when they are small, and in mammals, which in general, except for exceptions, sleep a lot. Extremely curious and tender, however, is the way of rest of sea otters that clasp their legs while remaining hooked to each other while they sleep. More than romance, it is a strategy to prevent the current from separating them.
How standing animals sleep
If you can't figure it out, let's try together to better understand why some species have "chosen" to sleep standing up. We have mentioned three but there are many more! There are for example cows and buffaloes and also moose, rhinos and bison. It's not really sleeping, it's taking a nap. The real sleep is made lying down.
Standing sleep is slow-wave sleep, not as deep as REM sleep, but restful. Not everyone can afford it because you need to be able to keep your balance. For this reason, animals with this habit have what is called a reciprocity apparatus, therefore tendons and ligaments that hold the animal upright even without making great muscular efforts. THE buffaloes they sleep standing up and also in a continuous state of alert because they have to watch over the herd in turn, when they are sentinels and responsible for the safety of their fellowmen. The moose, on the other hand, snore while they doze standing up, and gradually each one has its own peculiarity that makes it similar to us or not