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:

#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 🇺🇦