Sleep Science

7 Animals with Amazing Sleep Habits

30 Oct 20172 min read

It's fair to say our sleeping habits are usually fairly regular. Other than the night-shifters, we tend to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning.

When it comes to sleep, animals do things a little differently to us humans. In fact, some of them have extraordinary sleep habits. Here are some of our favourites:

1. Sea otters

Sleeping on the surface of the water, sea otters hold hands to prevent floating away from each other.

Get otter here, that’s way too cute!

Sea otters holding hands while they sleep
Sea otters sleep in the cutest way

2. Dolphins

It’s hard to believe, but dolphins don’t dive about looking cute 24 hours a day.

They enter periods of sleep at the surface of the water where half of their brain sleeps and the other half keeps a lookout for anything coming their way.

Sleeping with one eye open - dolphins really do love a sleep cliche!

3. Giraffes

We’ve all had days when we’ve yearned for a 20-minute power nap, but imagine that being the only sleep you get.

The combination of their height and lurking predators means it’s difficult for giraffes to curl up for some shut-eye.

Although when they do, it’s rather adorable.

Giraffe curled up asleep
Giraffes only sleep for 20 minutes a day. Imagine that!

4. Ducks

Donald, you’re on watch!

Okay, it might not quite go like that, but ducks do sleep in a line with a lookout on each end.

I bet they have a quackers rota!

5. Meerkats

It’s difficult to think of meerkats without hearing the TV adverts. But when they’re not popping up on our screens, they’re actually performing a huge ‘pile on’.

Meerkats sleep in heaps with the more important members on the inside while the outsiders have to keep a lookout for predators.

It all seems very political if you ask me!

Meerkat falling asleep stood up
Sometimes meerkats just can’t stay awake.

6. Whales

Like dolphins, whales are said to sleep with only one half of their brain switched off. However, research suggests that whales may be able to enter deep sleep.

Motionless sperm whales have been seen to remain still until they were disturbed by an oncoming boat.

It either suggests deep sleep, or they were having a whale of a time!

7. Chimpanzees

When it comes to sleep, chimpanzees don’t monkey about, they choose the type of tree that will give them the best sleep.

A study found that out of 1,844 chimpanzees, 74% of them chose a Ugandan ironwood tree despite there being many more trees in the area.

Maybe it was made of memory foam!

Two chimpanzees asleep up a tree
Chimpanzees don’t settle for any old tree when it comes to their sleep!

I don’t know about you, but the idea of sleeping in a tree or for a mere 20 minutes a day makes me appreciate the comfort of my mattress even more!

Interested in learning more sleep facts? Why not check out our post on the UK's strangest sleepwalking stories?