Sleeping Habits of Animals
When it comes to sleep, the animal kingdom is full of weird and wonderful surprises! There’s no need for beds, mattresses or Egyptian cotton sheets – they have other ways of getting some shut-eye!
Did you know that a walrus inflates air pouches in its throat to stay afloat whilst sleeping? Not only that, but to stop them from drifting while sleeping, they hook their enormous tusks into stable ice.
Closer to home, horses can sleep standing up by locking their legs to prevent them falling over. This means they can flee predators quickly if they need to. They only get their REM lying down so will do that for periods short too, usually during the day while one of the herd keeps watch.
It’s a misconception that birds sleep in nests. They actually use the nest for rearing and protecting their young. Once their young have successfully flown the nest, it’s redundant. So where do they actually sleep? Well, a water bird can sleep on the relative safety of the water or on small islands. Others sleep in trees or bushes and have ‘flexor tendons’ which perform the reflex action of ‘clamping’ their claws around the branch they are sleeping on. They can also shut down half their brain when they sleep which literally lets them sleep with one eye open!
Dolphins and Whales
Sea mammals, like dolphins and whales, are also capable of shutting down half their brain to sleep, while the other half continues with functions like swimming and getting to the surface to breathe.
Duration of sleep needed varies enormously between species too, with koala bears spending up to an incredible 22 hours asleep each day. While at the other end of the scale, giraffes and elephants only need a couple of hours.
For us humans, when it comes to getting your beauty sleep each night, the one thing you definitely need for good night’s sleep is the right mattress and a fabulous bedframe.
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