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These 8 animals have completely aced sleep time!


(Image by rihaij from Pixabay)

Bedtime for animals means lots of different things. From sleeping with one eye open to a leisurely 19 hour snooze, every animal species has different ways of getting their sleep.

Dolphins and Whales

Humpback whale
Photo by Christopher Michel licensed CC BY 2.0 

Dolphins and whales spend their whole lives in the water, but just like people, they need air to breathe.

When dolphins and whales go into a deeper sleep, only half their brain is actually snoozing. That way they can notice if predators are coming and, just as importantly, this part of their brains reminds them to go to the surface every so often to get air.

After a couple of hours, the sleeping sides of the brain switch so that the other side can get some rest too!



Many ducks have mastered the art of sleeping with one eye open so that they can keep watch for predators. In flocks, the birds will often trade off who keeps watch while the rest get a full, two eyes closed, sleep.


sleeping horses
Photo by duncan c licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

Horses do sleep standing up – but it’s light sleep.

Their legs lock them in place so they can doze off while standing, keeping them ready to dash off at a moment’s notice if something startles them.

However for deeper sleep, horses do lie down, but they only need to go into this deeper sleep for an hour or two every couple days.


Brown bats

Brown bats are the sleepiest of all mammals. They sleep for over 19 hours every day. Plus they have a really cool way to sleep — upside down! Their feet cling to rocks or branches, while the rest of them dangles. Sleeping upside down helps bats avoid predators, and it makes it easier for them to start flying.


sleeping otters holding hands
Photo by Paul Sloane licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

Sea otters often float along the water on their backs while they sleep.

To make sure no one gets lost, otters will hold hands with their friends and family while everyone sleeps.

They will also wrap seaweed and other plants around themselves to act as anchors so they don’t drift away.



In the wild, giraffes get less than two hours of sleep a day. They often do short power naps while standing, but when they do settle down for some serious shut-eye, they fold their long legs to lie on the ground and curl their necks around their bodies, making themselves into a giraffe-sized sleep ball.


sleeping bear
Photo by Lassi Kurkijarvi licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

Bears love to get their sleep in the winter — they’re out for months at a time!

Most people call this long sleep hibernation, but bears aren’t technically hibernating. In true hibernation, animals will have their body temperature drop a lot, and the animals wake up every week or so to move around and eat something.

Bears in their winter sleep only drop their temperature a little bit, and they don’t wake up at all — they can go 100 days without eating, drinking or going to the bathroom!