Do lizards sleep? It’s a common question with a complicated answer. Learn about the sleep habits of these fascinating creatures, and how they differ from other animals.
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It is a common belief that lizards are devoid of sleep. This, however, is not true. Lizards do sleep, but the way in which they do so is very different from the way mammals sleep. Read on to find out more about how lizards sleep and what benefits this provides them.
What is sleep?
Most people think of sleep as a time when the mind and body rests. This is not entirely true. Although sleep affects both the mind and body, it is mainly controlled by the brain.
During sleep, the brain is still active. It controls the breathing and heart rate, body temperature and hormone production. The brain also keeps working on any problems or goals from the day before.
All animals need some form of sleep, but lizards are one type of animal that can go without it for long periods of time. Lizards can go into a state of torpor, which is like a mini-hibernation. During torpor, the lizard’s metabolism slows down and it becomes very inactive.
The benefits of sleep
Most reptiles are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. This is due to their natural predators, which are mostly diurnal animals that hunt during the day. Most lizards will bask in the sun during the day to regulate their body temperature, but they will become more active and hunt for food once the sun goes down.
While it may seem like reptiles don’t sleep much, they actually do! They just don’t sleep in the same way that humans do. When a human sleeps, we enter into a state of unconsciousness where we are not aware of our surroundings and our bodies are able to rest and heal. Reptiles enter into a state of torpor, which is similar to sleep but not quite the same.
When a reptile enters into torpor, their metabolism slows down and they become less active. They may enter into a state of semi-consciousness where they are aware of their surroundings but not as responsive as they normally would be. This helps them to conserve energy and survive in environments where food is scarce. Torpor can last for days or even weeks at a time, depending on the species of lizard.
Not all lizards enter into torpor, however. Some lizards, like geckos, remain active ear round and only Enter into torpor for short periods of time when food is scarce or when hibernating during the winter months.
How do lizards sleep?
Lizards are reptiles and, like all reptiles do not have eyelids. This means that they cannot close their eyes to sleep. Instead, they enter a state of semi-consciousness called torpor. In this state, they are very difficult to awaken and their metabolism slows down.
When do lizards sleep?
While we do not know for sure when lizards sleep, we do know that they are diurnal animals. This means that they are most active during the day and sleep at night. Some lizards, such as geckos, can even change their skin color to match their surroundings and blend in with the time of day. If you see a lizard basking in the sun, it is probably taking a nap!
How long do lizards sleep for?
Lizards need between 8 and 12 hours of sleep a day, just like humans. However, they don’t sleep for long periods at a time like we do. Instead, they have several short naps throughout the day.
What happens if a lizard doesn’t sleep?
Lizards are ectothermic, or “cold blooded,” animals. This means that their internal body temperature depends on the temperature of their surroundings. Because of this, you might think that lizards don’t need to sleep. However, research has shown that lizards do in fact sleep, although they don’t follow the same sleep patterns as mammals.
Ectothermic animals are most active when the temperature is warm and become less active as the temperature drops. This means that lizards are more likely to be awake during the day and to sleep at night. However, some lizards (such as geckos) are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night and sleep during the day.
Lizards typically enter a state of minimized activity at night, during which their body temperature drops and their metabolism slows down. This state is similar to what mammals experience during hibernation or torpor. Although they are technically awake during this time, lizards do not move around much and they may appear to be asleep.
If a lizard is deprived of sleep, it will eventually die. In one study, researchers deprived lizards of sleep for 14 days and found that the animals became increasingly lethargic and stopped eating. The lizards also lost significant amounts of weight and died within two weeks.
These findings show that even though lizards don’t follow the same sleep patterns as mammals, they still need to sleep in order to survive. If you have a pet lizard, make sure to provide it with a quiet place to rest so that it can get the sleep it needs!
Do all lizards sleep in the same way?
There are more than 5,600 species of lizard, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some lizards are tiny, measuring just a few centimeters from nose to tail. Other lizards, such as the Komodo dragon, can reach lengths of more than 3 meters (10 feet).
With all this diversity, you might think that lizards would display a correspondingly diverse range of sleep behaviors. But according to a new study shed in the journal Science Advances, there may be more similarities than differences in the way these creatures catch some shut-eye.
Lizards do indeed sleep, but the duration and patterns of their sleep vary widely among species. Some lizards are active during the day and sleep at night, while others are nocturnal and sleep during the day. Still, others may be active for short periods of time at night and during the day.
-^[Snakes and Lizards: Why do lizards sleep with their eyes open?](https://askabiologist.asu.edu/lizards-sleep-eyes-open)
-^[Do lizards sleep with their eyes open? – Reptiles Magazine, Your source for reptile and herp care, breeding, and captive breeding.](http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-FAQs/Lizard-FAQs/Do-Lizards-Sleep-With-Their-Eyes/)