For humans, sleep is essential for overall health. It allows us to recharge, consolidate memories, and repair the body. Scientists think that animals need sleep for similar purposes.
After all, they are particularly vulnerable while enjoying it, so there must be considerable advantages that outweigh the risks, right?
While there are many mysteries surrounding sleep that we still can’t solve, there’s one certainty that nobody dares to doubt. Animals look absolutely adorable when they close their eyes to get some well-deserved rest.
To drive this point home, we decided to expand on one of our earlier publications and put together a new collection of pictures showing the quirky and sweet side of sleep. From dogs and cats to geckos and owls, continue scrolling to meet the gang.
#1 Hugging In Their Sleep
Image credits: stuartjohns
How animals sleep — and just how much rest they get — is as varied as the creatures themselves, but here are the top 10 drowsy critters (ranked by hours spent sleeping per 24 hours):
1. Koala: 20-22;
2. Sloth: 20;
3. Brown bat: 19.9;
4. Giant armadillo: 18.1;
5. Python: 18;
5. North American opossum: 18;
7. Owl monkey: 17;
8. Human infant: 16;
9-10. Tiger: 15.8;
9-10. Tree shrew: 15.8.
#2 The Street Is Very Hot, So The Salesperson Allows Kittens To Go Into The Store And Sleep On The Freezer
Image credits: Patiscope
#3 Where My Cat Sleeps When I’m Working From Home
Image credits: saveitforparts
#4 Just Like A Human Relationship
Image credits: Lara_the_dog
Since the amount of sleep required varies greatly from species to species, let’s look at the other end of the spectrum.
The average giraffe, for example, sleeps for just 4.6 hours per day. For the most part, giraffes tend to sleep during the night, although they do get in some quick naps throughout the day.
They can doze off standing up as well as lying down, and their sleep cycles are quite short, lasting around 35 minutes and sometimes even shorter.
#5 Fox Sleeping On A Skylight
Image credits: 1in7billion_
#6 Snow Owls Sleep Like They Have Necked 10 Double Whiskeys And Just Reached Their Bed
Image credits: jamesglynn
#7 A Boy And His Cow Napping At The Goshen Fair
Image credits: tiameghan
#8 Time For A Nap
Image credits: emcasi
Elephants are another animal that sleeps very little. Some researchers have documented their total sleep time as just 2 hours per day.
(Interestingly, scientists can tell elephants are sleeping when their trunks stop moving.)
Elephants, like giraffes, likely only sleep for a few hours each day due to their massive body size and need to graze often. Predation risk may also play a role in how little they sleep, given how far they’ll travel while awake.
Some elephants have been observed traveling for nearly two days without sleeping at all.
#9 Cats Sleeping On A Bench In Whidbey Island, WA. I Had To Stop And Take A Picture On My Walk
Image credits: mattsitsback
#10 Can We All Just Take A Moment To Appreciate The Sweetest Little Fox Sleeping On A Tree Stump In My Parents’ Backyard
Image credits: ImGoingBackToBed
#11 I Caught Him Sleeping Like This In His Cat Tree
Image credits: BikerHackerman2
#12 My 19-Year-Old Cat Sleeping With Her Childhood Toy
Image credits: subornion
During sleep, the human body cycles through four stages. Physical changes take place during each stage, such as decreased temperature and heart rate.
Different types of brain activity also occur during each stage, with more activity taking place during the fourth stage, called rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep.
In addition to the fluttering eyes behind eyelids, this sleep phase is also characterized by muscle twitching and waking-like electrical brain patterns. Although humans can dream during any phase of sleep, they are most likely to during REM sleep.
#13 Moose Taking An Afternoon Nap In My Dad’s Garden
Image credits: DudeHeadAwesome
#14 The Shelter Made A Rule That These Siblings Had To Be Adopted Together Because They Were Inseparable. They Sleep Like This Every Night
Image credits: TieDyeSky
#15 Sleeping Squirrels In Their Nest On A Window Ledge
Image credits: astacea
#16 This Is Chata, The Munchkin. This Is How He Sleeps
Image credits: TheSoulOfTheRose
Many terrestrial mammals, including primates, and some reptiles, birds, and aquatic invertebrates also experience REM sleep. But again, the exact amount varies widely depending on the species.
Because elephants sleep so little, they don’t experience REM sleep every day. In contrast, house cats can spend up to 8 hours a day in REM sleep.
Some animals, such as dolphins and whales, show little-to-non behaviors associated with REM sleep, although whales sometimes do exhibit some muscle jerking that might be representative of REM sleep.
#17 In Case You Need Something To Brighten Your Day, Here’s A Picture Of My Dog Sleeping
Image credits: cadencecleo
#18 This Is How They Sleep! Nugget (The Sausage Dog) Makes Sure Of It
Image credits: donald1708
#19 One Of Our Ducks Rejected This Duckling And It Imprinted On Me Instead. It Hasn’t Let Me Out Of It’s Sight For The Two And A Half Days It’s Been Alive
It tired itself out playing in the grass earlier and stretched out in my hand for a little nap
Image credits: pickledrabbit
#20 This Is My Yoda
Image credits: Mysummertime
Even though mammals and birds both spend considerable periods in REM sleep, REM seems to have become further enhanced in mammals. In birds, periods of REM last only a few seconds at a time, implying that the animal would be rapidly going into and out of dreams again and again.
#21 Everybody’s Got These Great Pictures Of Their People Sleeping With Their Pets And I’m Over Here Stuck With This Mess
Image credits: aderaptor
#22 Funny Hedgehog Sleeping
Image credits: JhenyVers
#23 The Way My Cat Sleeps
Image credits: Interkrmn
#24 Two Months After I Got Him And Darwin Still Holds His Own Paws When He Sleeps
Image credits: compscilady
Whatever the perceptual content of an animal’s dreams, we can expect that they are just as chaotic (and, at times, repetitive) as our own.
If this is the case, we can only wonder how they interpret these strange experiences upon waking. Maybe they are just as confused and fascinated as we are.
#25 My Little Guy Likes Sleeping In His Succulent
Image credits: samehdw
#26 This Hood Is Good
Image credits: aliensdontdrinkcola
#27 All Tucked In
Image credits: Ryno3639
#28 My Boy Eddie Sleeping
Image credits: rosso2099
#29 How My New Kitten Likes To Sleep When I Am Using My Laptop
Image credits: yaron02
#30 Smol Criminal Taking A Nap
Image credits: Lelouch132
#31 Blep In Her Sleep
Image credits: crypt0sam
#32 He Has The Weirdest Sleeping Positions
Image credits: bgandy2020
#33 This Is My Black Cat Kaia. She Started To Sleep Like This After Her Belly Got Badly Injured In A Car Accident. So Proud That She Recovered
Image credits: Yuzolein11
#34 These Cats Napping Aligned On Stairs
Image credits: _vedantt1_
#35 Circle Of Meow
Image credits: reddit.com
#36 Excuse Me, Miss, May I Nap In Your Nest For A Bit? A Little Bird Followed Me From My Car
Image credits: nikk_nack
#37 Little Puppers Doing A Synchronized Sleep
Image credits: JaderBug12
#38 In Under A Month She Went From Being Scared Of Everyone, To Sleeping With A Smile On Her Face Cuddling. Please Rescue
Image credits: its420honeybun
#39 So I Caught My Cat Sleeping In This Position
Image credits: Limbric
#40 My Mother Just Sent Me This Picture. She Just Woke Up And Had This Fella Sleeping Over Her Bed
Image credits: Netblast
#41 The Way She Sleeps
Image credits: ProtoNC_
#42 This Baby Duck Is Sleeping, So People Who Are Also Going To Sleep Good Night And Dream About Ducks
Image credits: Sokkenwaap
#43 This Is My Dog’s Favorite Toy. He Refuses To Chew On It And He Sleeps With It Every Night
Image credits: Snarkzilla
#44 He Sleeps
Image credits: RHEmarketing
#45 Foster Kitten Likes To Sleep In My Hand. I Have No Objections
Image credits: owlsome7
#46 My Girlfriend Is Dog-Sitting With A Friend’s Dog. This Is How He Naps Apparently
Image credits: Tittihawk
#47 My Girlfriend’s Cat Sleeping On Top Of The Brooms In Her Family’s Shop
Image credits: slimpedroca
#48 My Friend’s Sleeping Cat
Image credits: gayqwertykeyboard
#49 Didn’t See Him At Lunchtime, So Looked Around And Found Him Sleeping In The Front Yard
Image credits: meme_stealing_bandit
#50 Found This Little Guy At The Bottom Of Our Garden. He Was In Bad Shape But He’s Improving. The Hard Work Of Forming A Bond With Him Is Paying Off
This is him coming up to me today and sleeping next to me
Image credits: TheGreen_Giant_
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Author: Akvile Petraityte 🇺🇦