Horses Sleep : 10 Interesting Facts You Need To Know

Did you know that horses can see almost with 360 vision? Yes, with this kind of vision, they have certain types of sleep which can comfort them after a hectic work. 

Unlike humans, who commonly sleep at night, horses tend to sleep irregularly throughout the day in minor pacts. A non-ruminant species like a horse will spend more time in resting activities.

Horses Sleep

But, most of the people are curious to know, how long do horses sleep?

Horses would get very little sleep each day. The horses would sleep 2 to 3 hours daily. But they get most of the sleep while standing, which is known as slow-wave sleep.

This article will discuss some basic sleep phenomena in horses and exciting information about horses’ sleep. Let’s start the blog post without wasting any time.

10 Interesting Facts You Need To Know

It would be challenging to depict if your horse is sleeping while standing, but the horse masters would be saying; if you know, you know!

Here’s a cool fact for you, a horse has an inherent feature to take naps in parts. It’s an instinct that saves the horses from getting attacked anytime.

Let’s discuss some more cool facts about horses.

How Long Do Horses Sleep?

Horses have a strange habit of sleeping for just about a bit of time. An average horse would love to do resting activities and will be spending about 3 hours sleeping.

Horses will not be sleeping all night like humans but still be resting while standing and getting another type of sleep known as slow-wave sleep.

Why Do Horses Sleep So Little?

Your horse would not be sleeping much in their life, and you might be worried about it. But there’s nothing to worry about why my horse sleeps so little.

An interesting thing to note is, a horse can’t get proper human-like REM sleep. It’s because more weight blocks blood supply when they lie down, so they prefer standing sleep.

So, your horse would be sleeping while standing, but you are not counting that in sleep.

Do Horses Always Sleep Standing Up?

People would always say that their horse is always sleeping while standing, but it is an incomplete fact, and we can modify it as:

Horses don’t always sleep while standing; that’s because of their gigantic body mass, which could increase more than 400kg. So, they lie down and sleep to rest their legs and treat the lethargy.

Why Don’t Horses Sit Or Lie Down Even While Sleeping?

My friend bought a horse, and he didn’t know much about them. He found it weird that his horse sat down to sleep. He approached me, and I told him that:

Horses are brought initially up in the wild, and they exhibit this behavior of sleeping while standing to resist any predator from killing them. Plus, the horses can quickly run if a hunter is coming to them while they are standing.

Scientists believe that it is the best tactic to survive in the wild.

Do Horses Need Darkness To Sleep?

Unlike humans, who need a comfortable and cozy bed to sleep on, horses aren’t the species that need warm and comfy beds. They can sleep in every situation.

But, do horses only sleep in the dark?

Horses can sleep day or night, and they don’t even care about the cold or hot temperatures. A horse is a wild species, and it can sleep in a standing position with short naps at different intervals.

Do Big Animals Always Sleep Standing Up?

People often complain that their big animals sleep while standing.

The truth is, big animals have more weight, and that’s why they sleep while standing. But, sleeping like humans is only when they lie down and sleep deeply as we do, but that is just 3 hours on average.

So, big animals have standing sleep all the time for short intervals, but they sleep calmly by lying down only for a few hours.

Do Horses Love Their Owners?

You are well aware of dogs and how they are attached to humans. Some reports show that horses love their owners much like dogs, but less than dogs do.

Research shown by Swedish scientists showed that horses have a strong affinity and bond with their masters. Plus, if you separate a horse from its owner, the heart rate increases, but they won’t hesitate to go with strangers.

Why Can’t A Horse Lay Down?

Is It Safe for Horses to Lay Down? Horses are giant animals with more than 400kg of weight.

So, lying down is natural for a horse, but don’t let the horse sit down for too long, as it could hurt its organs. Why? Due to more weight, blood supply is affected, which may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Thus, it is not safe for a horse to lay down for a very long time as it may affect the back legs and cause strokes in the heart when blood is not pumped correctly.

Is Your Horse Sleep Deprived?

Naturally, a horse cannot be deprived of sleep as it sleeps while standing most of the time.

But, do horses deprive the laydown sleep?

Studies suggest that if horses don’t get enough natural sleep, they may sleep deprivation and show visual signs after 15 days. Different sleep problems arise in horses. One of them is narcolepsy.

Thus, any horse should get enough sleep of 3 hours in a resting lay down position.

Why Does A Horse Lie Down?

Specific reasons arise for horses lying down. It could be of anything and should not be associated with any diseases particularly.

But is it bad for a horse to lie down?

Horses may lie down for natural reasons; at daytime, horses lie down to get some rest, and at night they lie down to reach REM sleep. Adult horses sleep for 3 to 4 hours, while young horses sleep longer.

What Is The Recommended Sleep For A Horse?

A horse sleeps about 3 hours per day while sitting down. It may fluctuate in younger and adult horses.

But, how much sleep is best for a horse to remain active?

Horses should sleep at least 3 to 4 hours for good and active metabolism. The standing sleep is about anywhere between 8 to 9 hours. But, actual sleep is estimated to be one part of the whole sleeping time.

Problems Arising In Horses Due To Lack Of Sleep

Several problems arise due to a lack of REM sleep.

What should be the possible problems occurring due to lack of sleep?

  • A horse may have narcolepsy (sleeping in still consciousness suddenly).
  • Lack of sleep affects metabolism
  • Sleep deprivation induces laziness and slow running
  • Apathy and colic.

So, it is better to take care of your horse and its sleep patterns actively.

How Can I Help My Horse Sleep?

You can help your horse go to sleep and prevent different diseases. Follow these steps to help your horse sleep peacefully :

  • Make it dark; never make your horse sleep in bright light. Make a comfortable sleeping environment for your horse.
  • Ample bedding also helps
  • Keep away all the noises
  • Make sure it has a warm and cozy place in winters and vice versa in summers.

5 Strange Sleeping Habits of Horses

 Have noticed these strange sleeping habits in horses:

  1. Horses sleep in the standing position to save from predators
  2. They get REM sleep only when they lay down
  3. They sleep in parts and don’t sleep the whole night
  4. Less sleep causes distress in horses and their behavior
  5. Horses can’t sleep if they are stressed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does A Horse Sleep At Night?

A horse generally has two types of sleep.

  • REM sleep is for 3 hours on average
  • Slow-wave sleep is for like minutes (and is all day while standing).

In Which Position a Horse Sleeps?

Horses sleep in the standing position most of the time. They would love to stand and sleep as it can make them safe and secure from all the hunters as they can run immediately, unlike lying down.

Do Horses Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Horses sleep with their eyes closed and open. They can do both, and it is natural. The third type of sleeping is, they can also sleep with their eyes half-open.

So, it may be tough to predict if your horse is sleeping or not.

Final Thoughts

Horses spend about 15% of their life span sleeping. It is less than that of human beings.

But, the best thing is, they can sleep in a standing position with their eyes either closed or open. But, on average, they should be sleeping 3 hours a day.

But, if horses aren’t getting enough sleep, they can get sick; it could be for any reason, including stress or fear. So, always try to make your horse calm and cool so it could sleep better.

So, that was all about Horses Sleep. If you have any questions, please let us know!