Learning From Sleep Patterns in Animals

Did you know that sleep patterns vary greatly between species? Where humans need an average of 8hrs of sleep per day, a brown bat sleeps most of the day and giraffes are able to go weeks without sleep! The sleep pattern of rats is similar to that of humans, meaning they need rest to remain alert and learning.

There have been canines used to treat sleep disorders too. According to Jerome Siegel PhD, a processor with UCLA Center for Sleep Research, to better understand sleep we have to better understand sleep patterns in animals. While patterns vary, one element that occurs in both is the REM (rapid eye movement) stage.

Also, both animals and humans show similar brain activity levels during REM sleep. It is common for dogs to twitch or bark when in REM sleep, a platypus imitates movements of killing crustacean prior to eating it, and humans tend to speak during sleep.

One aspect of REM sleep in animals that we may never know, is if they dream like humans do. The reason for this, is they cannot really respond by asking like another person could. But, what is known is the brain wave patterns between animals and humans in REM are very similar.

Overall, it appears the sleep patterns vary between animals depending on their brain metabolism rates. So, smaller animals that have increased brain metabolisms will need increased amounts of sleep, while larger animals often need less sleep. This makes the sleep patterns of our pets a little more interesting, doesn’t it?

Of course animals don’t have mattresses!  That’s an advantage humans have.  Check out my guide to mattresses.