The Animals That Sleep The Least: Do You Know Who They Are?

There are many species in the animal kingdom that require very few hours of sleep. One thing they all have in common is that they sleep for short periods.
The animals that sleep the least: do you know who they are?

People need around eight hours of sleep to stay healthy. But in the animal kingdom, sleep is a need that can reach incredible extremes, but which animals sleep the least?


These giant mammals  are at the top of the list of animals that sleep the least. A group of biologists examined a herd in South Africa to determine how much they slept. After watching the demo constantly, it could be established that the elephants slept an average of two hours a day divided into several intervals.

Their large size requires them to spend most of the day searching for food. They have to eat around 300 kg of food a day, which leaves very little time for rest.

Unlike humans, these mammals have virtually no REM sleep phase, which is required for our memory to develop. The study showed that they barely spend 5-10 seconds in the REM phase. But that does not mean that they do not rest; even if they stand with their eyes open, they have time to relax.

The research was conducted with wild animals, which were constantly on the hunt for food and water, while protecting themselves from predators. Captive elephants sleep up to four hours a day because they do not have to worry about this.


Giraffes are another of the animals that sleep the least. They spend only two hours a day sleeping, even here divided into several different stages during the day.

Giraffes sleep standing up

In general, they sleep for seven minutes while they sleep,  and it is rarely about deep sleep. It is relatively rare to see a sleeping giraffe.

Horses, donkeys and impalas

These animals’ bones are developed to support them even when they are sleeping. In total  , they sleep up to three hours a day in 7-minute stages. Even if they only need a little sleep, they can sometimes lie down to sleep soundly.

A waking impala

These animals take turns sleeping when they are in a group. In this way, some can guard while the others rest. These few hours of sleep give them the energy they need to stay awake the rest of the time. Their sleep patterns do not change even when they are in captivity. When it comes to impalas, the males almost never sleep because they have to watch over the herd.

Animals that sleep the least: sharks

Sharks and other large fish must stay in constant motion to get oxygen to breathe. They get oxygen through the water that passes through their mouths and out through the gills.

Swimming shark

This need means that they can not sleep, but it does not mean that they do not rest. Experts say that sharks use underground caves to rest and get oxygen, but this has not been observed many times.

Whales and dolphins

In reality, both whales and dolphins sleep, but in a completely different way than humans, mostly because they do not close their eyes.

Dolphin in the sea

Whales must be in constant motion to be able to swim to the surface to breathe. They are therefore able to disconnect one half of the brain while the other remains active. That’s how they manage to rest. The offspring of these animals have long phases of sleep. They stay next to their mothers and are therefore dragged along when they swim.

Sheep, goats and cows

Sheep and cattle sleep an average of four hours a day, divided into short stages. The rest of the day is spent looking for food and digesting it, which takes almost eight hours. Like horses and donkeys  , they take turns sleeping when they are in a group.

Grazing rams


The ant is an insect that takes naps for one minute several times a day for a total of 4-5 hours. The ant queen rests twice as much, up to nine hours a day.

Ants are among the animals that sleep the least

The animals that sleep the least are the ones that must remain in motion to survive. Whether it is to escape threats, breathe or eat, these are the animals that sleep the least. This does not mean, however, that they do not rest; they just do it differently.

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