As a major contributor to the Michigan Humane Society, it is no secret that US-Mattress is full of animal lovers. We of course care about how our customers sleep, but we also want to help cats, dogs, and other furry friends sleep safely and comfortably. Sleep is something shared across virtually the entire animal kingdom, and there are some truly unique and utterly strange sleep habits out there. Here are a few!
Unihemispheric sleep refers to each hemisphere of the brain sleeping independently of the other. Animals that are capable of unihemispheric sleep are able to put half of their brain to sleep while the other half remains awake and alert. This system of sleep allows animals to get sleep while remaining alert of predators, migrating non-stop, and swimming. Some examples of unihemispheric sleepers are beluga whales, dolphins, sea lions, mallard ducks, and even domestic chickens!
Sea Otter Anchors
You’ve probably seen images of otters floating on their backs and holding hands. This practice is believed to keep them from floating away while they’re unconscious. But did you know some otters have even been found to secure themselves with seaweed before drifting off to sleep? If any animal wins the “cutest sleeping practice” award it probably has to be otters. Whether holding hands or tying themselves down, otters can sleep safely in the water knowing they won’t float away.
It is pretty common for animals to “make beds” or “bed down,” but orangutans probably take this farther than any other species aside from us. Birds make pretty cool nests, polar bears dig dens for hibernating, and deer will bed down on tall grass, but orangutans will actually find materials to bend and even weave into comfortable mattresses. While other animals may choose or use features of their environment as a bed, and animals like birds build “homes,” orangutans seem to stand apart for making complex and specialized mattresses specifically for sleeping comfort.
The winner of extreme animal sleeper is probably the dolphin. Not only do species of dolphins practice unihemispheric sleep, but it is thought that dolphin mothers sleep very little, if at all, for weeks after giving birth. Having to worry about predators, continue swimming, and come to the surface to breathe, unihemispheric sleep is very beneficial just to survive. But when watching over a newborn who is slower, smaller, and especially vulnerable to predation, observation has suggested that the mother stays active with only time for brief fragments of sleep at best for as much as three weeks. And you thought your newborn kept you up at night…
As experts on sleep, and friends of the Michigan Humane Society, we hope you found these sleep facts from the animal kingdom as interesting as we did! Visit US-Mattress.com if you’re looking to upgrade your sleep with a new mattress, we promise it will be more comfortable than the one you got from that orangutan.