Do Insects Sleep?


Everybody sleeps, but it is a concept that we still don’t fully grasp. Sleeping is a state of resting where a being mostly without moving carries on its metabolic functions. Cats, dogs, Giraffes, fishes, birds all do sleep in one way or another. And though the way in which many creatures sleep might be a bit different than humans, it more or less serves the same purpose in every living being. But a question which often comes to mind whilst thinking of insects and sleep is ” Do insects Sleep too?” And if so do they do it in a similar way like ours. Well, that is exactly what we will be discussing in great length in this very article. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Yes, most insects do experience a state of sleep, but this is not similar to that of humans as not do they not have eyelids and many of them aren’t able to close their eyelids whilst sleeping, but they also do not experience REM sleep which basically means that they don’t go to actual deep slumber but rather a state of relaxation where their body parts relax and they become comparatively less responsive to outer stimulus

A video extensively answering “Do Insects Sleep?”

A study that took place in the year 2000 studied fruit flies to see their overall behaviour and figure out whether they enter a state similar to sleeping. The study was conducted by two groups of Neuroscience Institute of California and the University of Pennsylvania who found fruitflies to be comparatively immobile during the night and they became less responsive to outer stimulus. To elaborate, this meant that they weren’t as responsive as they originally were. Moreover, it was also found that when the insects were deprived of sleep in the night they went on to reciprocate for that in the day time just like we humans do. ”

Fun Fact

Some males of a few species sleep by sticking their mouth to their favourite plant and then hanging on it

Furthermore, when asleep of a bee is disturbed it responds somewhat the same way as humans do, feeling a bit frustrated and trying to go back to sleep. And if due to some reason they are not allowed to get sleep, their overall behavior becomes a bit lazy and slacky. A biologist by the name of Barrett Klein invented a device and named in the “Insominator”. For those of you who are wondering this was basically a device made for experimentation on insects’ sleep. It was found during his study involving the insominator that when bees weren’t given proper sleep, they weren’t able to communicate properly as to where flowers were which is a part of their daily routine. So it can be concluded that sleep deprivation can lead to lousy results in insects just like humans

Another study that was conducted found that a third of fruitflies who were sleep-deprived for a long time ended up dying. So in extreme cases, this can be without a doubt fatal. Moreover, some researchers say even if sleep deprivation doesn’t end up killing insects it would end up shortening the span of their life. Elaborating on this, A recent study from the University of South Florida where it was found that free queens got to have nearly 9 hours of sleep in a day whereas the worker got to sleep for nearly 4hours a day. And it was later seen in this study that the worker usually only live for a year whereas the queen can go on to live for an amazing 6 years

How Do Insects Sleep?

A picture of a sleeping bug to better answer "Do Insects Sleep?"

Insects do not experience sleep the same way as we do, their state of sleep does not include of REM sleep, it is basically just a state where they are resting and aroused only by strong stimulis like the heat of the day or the darkness of night or even perhaps an attack by a predator. This state of sleep in insects is called “Tarpor”. An example of this is not only seen in fruitflies but also in migrating monarchs ( a type of a butterfly ). Their sleep consists of sudden fits of resting while doing long distance travelling. Another quite important thing to note here is that a lot of insects sleep in a different variations of ways. For instance, some insects sleep while by sticking to their favourite plants with their jaws

Tarpor also helps insects to the surroundings. For instance, an insect known as the lives in a rather quite cold climate. And shocking as it may sound, it actually freezes whilst it sleeps at night, and when its day time it wakes up, shoves the ice off of it, and then goes on with his normal daily routine.

Surprisingly, there are also insects like the pillbugs that sleep when they feel threatened which is rather quite odd as this can have them killed at times

Do Insects Dream?

No, dreaming is a state that a mind gets in while in REM sleep and that is a state that is not conventionally found in any species of insects, so this means that though sleeping can be a very important part of many insects, they still do not see dreams. Moreover, another quite important thing to note at this point is that there are quite a lot of insects out there that do not shut down their lids whilst they are sleeping, like the Chinese praying mantis

Hopefully, this article was helpful in answering a few of your insects and sleep-related questions, if you have any further related questions feel free to use the comment section below. Moreover, if you want to know an answer to whether insects seek and take revenge, we have a great article written on just that, you can give that a look “here“. And if you want to go through some interesting facts about insects, natgeokids has a great article written on that, you can give that a look “here

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