Did you know there’s more than one way to sleep? We’re not talking about body positioning or the makeup of your mattress. There are some really different ways to sleep, and you can find them throughout the animal kingdom.
How does Homo Sapiens sleep?
You might have noticed that dogs can sleep anywhere and anytime – even if they’ve been lounging around, passing in and out of sleep all day. That’s because they sleep differently than us. Humans (at least in American culture) are monophasic sleepers. Most of us sleep in one big block of time during each 24-hour sleep-wake cycle (so long as we’re sleeping on a great mattress). However, it’s possible that humans are naturally biphasic and better suited to fitting in two blocks of sleep during a 24-hour period. That’s why the siesta exists in some cultures, and it’s also why we encounter the dreaded afternoon slump. And get this — the reason new parents are so challenged by their newborns’ nocturnal alertness is that human babies have a polyphasic sleep pattern for the first year of life. No wonder that year is so hard!
Survival of the Species
The fact that humans manage to sleep in extended 6-to-8-hour sessions is likely a testament to either evolution or our dominance over other species. We can’t emphasize enough that, for us, adequate sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. But for animals trying to survive in the wild, needing a big chunk of sleep can be a liability. That’s why most species in the animal kingdom have a polyphasic sleep cycle, which features many shorter periods of sleep throughout the day, night, or both. Sleep can be dangerous because it makes an animal less aware of its environment, and because the body temporarily becomes paralyzed during REM sleep. Thus, though smaller creatures with higher metabolism require more sleep than the big guys, it’s in their best interest to get it in the form of short naps. It seems to work out okay because those short stints of sleep add up to an average of 10.1 hours of sleep a day for a dog! This might have something to do with the fact that our furry friends have relatively little to fear.
Sleep patterns in other species get way more bizarre than the number of sessions in a day. Can you imagine what life would be like if we could rest parts of our brain while others remained conscious? That’s exactly what happens in the case of aquatic mammals with unihemispheric sleep patterns. One hemisphere (half) of the animal’s brain descends into a deep sleep while the other is actively awake. The two hemispheres alternate sleeping and waking roughly every 40 minutes. That means that when dolphins are traveling in pods, those on the outside of the group can keep their “awake eye” on the lookout for predators, while the other is closed because it’s linked to the snoozing hemisphere.
Imagine the Possibilities!
When it comes to needing total downtime for sleep, you and your pets are likely in the same boat. While dolphins might not need beds, you certainly do, and so does your dog. If you’d like to keep yourself and your furry friend out of pain and in tip-top shape, quality beds are essential. Fortunately, legendary mattress maker Sealy has looked beyond the number of daily sleep sessions to meet the napping needs of our canine companions better. In addition to providing superior support, especially for older and bigger dogs, the top-tier Max and Bella dog beds feature antibacterial protection, odor-absorbing charcoal, freshening green tea, a washable outer cover, a waterproof inner liner, a non-slip bottom, and Energy Gel to keep your puppy cool. We do, of course, have an incredible array of mattresses available for you, too.