Anyone who knows very little about horses will surely assume what they may hear from other people. But at the same time, what you hear from other people can also be factual. Similarly, many people have this misconception that horses only sleep while they are standing. Accordingly, it’s somewhat true, but it has reasonable aspects as well.
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Horses are magnificent creatures famous for their strength, beauty, and grace. It’s easier to say that these animals are the most loveable creatures in the world. Likely, it is mainly due to their behaviour, habits, and physiology that’s fascinated humans for centuries. One of the most intriguing aspects of horses is how they sleep. Hence, in this article, you will explore some interesting facts about how horses sleep and its various aspects.
Popular Facts About Horses Sleep
1. Horses sleep while standing up:
Horses are famous for sleeping while standing up. This is due to the unique anatomy of their legs and tendons, which lock in place and allow them to rest without collapsing. More so, this adaptation has evolved over millions of years. Furthermore, allowing horses to rest while still staying alert to potential predators.
2. Horses can also lie down to sleep
While horses are able to sleep standing up, they also need to lie down to get REM sleep. REM sleep is the deepest stage of sleep, where the brain processes and consolidates memories. Horses need approximately two hours of REM sleep a day, and they achieve this by lying down.
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3. Horses can sleep for a short period
Horses are polyphasic sleepers, which means they sleep in short bursts throughout the day and night. They can sleep for as little as five minutes at a time and up to three hours a day. This allows them to rest and rejuvenate while being alert to their surroundings.
4. Horses can sleep with one eye open
Horses have a unique ability to sleep with one eye open. This is known as unilateral sleep, allowing them to rest one side of their brain while remaining alert to their surroundings with the other. This is another adaptation that has evolved to protect them from predators.
5. Horses require a comfortable environment to sleep
Horses require a comfortable environment to sleep in, just like humans. They prefer a quiet, dark, and comfortable space to lie down without injury. Providing a comfortable environment for horses to sleep in is essential to their health and well-being.
What’s the reason for horses to sleep while standing up?
It’s an obvious problem that generally occurs whenever a person sees a horse sleeping in a standing position. So, it can be tricky to answer it at first if you have no direct reliance with the answer. However, there are two ways in which a horse generally sleeps; they are –
- While on their Feet
- Laying down for REM sleep
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So, the thing is, horses only take a nap when they sleep while standing on their feet. It’s mainly because they feel that sleeping while lying down can be dangerous when they must stay alert in vulnerable surroundings.
Likely, they are able to do this with the help of tendons and ligaments that enables them to lock their joints. Furthermore, when they must take a deep sleep, they lie down for short intervals and then complete their sleep cycle. Accordingly, it’s only for a few hours that count for not more than 2 to 3 hours in a day.
Needless to say, horses are fascinating creatures with unique habits and behaviours. Interesting facts make them truly remarkable animals able to sleep standing up, lie down to get REM sleep, sleep for short periods at a time, sleep with one eye open, and require a comfortable environment to sleep. As humans, it is our responsibility to ensure that horses have a safe and comfortable environment to sleep in to continue to thrive and bring joy to our lives.
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