The lifestyle of bugs is very different from that of humans, but we do have some things in common. Just like other animals, bugs need to eat, drink, and sleep! Rest is vital for all living things, but is it the same in bugs as it is in humans? Where do flies sleep? Do spiders sleep at night, or during the day? And, what happens if insects stay awake for too long?
Do bugs sleep?
Rest is important for any living thing, and bugs need to do it, too. Insects do sleep, but not in quite the same way that humans do. Their sleep behaviors are different to ours (for example, they don’t tuck themselves up in bed and close their eyes to snooze).
It’s also unclear how insects experience sleep; for instance, we don’t know whether or not bugs have dreams. However, scientists have observed that insects regularly enter a sleep-like state (or torpor) that seems to be comparable to human sleep.
Why do bugs need to sleep?
For something that all living things do, a lot of what happens during sleep is still a mystery to scientists. However, one thing is for sure: we need sleep to survive. Sleep is when our bodies and brains rest and restore, and it is critical for healthy brain function.
Keep in mind!
Short-term sleep loss can cause confusion, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating. In the long term, sleep deprivation can eventually cause serious health issues in humans (like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart failure). But does a lack of sleep also affect bugs?
One study found that sleep-deprived bees were less able to perform their ‘waggle dance,’ a series of movements that bees use to communicate with one another. The dances of the sleepy bees were less detailed than those of their well-rested hive mates and, therefore, less effective for conveying information. This suggests that a lack of sleep can cause dysfunctional behavior in insects, just as it does in humans.
Where and when do bugs sleep?
Insects will rest in any place they feel safe and sheltered. The exact location differs between species; for example, mosquitoes may rest in the shade of grasses and shrubs, butterflies cling to the branches of trees, and bees are known to nap inside flowers.
Different bugs are active at different hours of the day. Insects that are active at night will sleep in the day, and bugs that are out in the daytime rest as night. It is likely that their sleep pattern is determined by daylight cues, just as it is in humans.
How can you tell if a bug is sleeping?
Insects do need to sleep, but they don’t do it in quite the same way people do. Bugs lack eyelids, so they can’t close their eyes, and they don’t tuck themselves up in small bug beds. It is not clear whether insects experience to sleep in the same way we do, but they do enter a rest-like state, or ‘torpor.’
A sleeping bug will be sitting still in a sheltered place. Researchers have found that sleeping fruit flies are less responsive to their surroundings, and are difficult to rouse. They also observed that snoozing flies occasionally ‘sleep twitch,’ and will make tiny movements of their legs and proboscis while resting.
What is the sleeping cycle of bugs?
A bug’s sleep cycle is determined by its Circadian rhythm, which is the internal body clock that governs the sleep-wake patterns of all living things. The Circadian rhythm of an insect is determined by its active hours which are, in turn, determined by what the insect eats.
For example, nectar-drinking bees are awake during the day, when flowering plants are in full bloom. Insects that feed at night (like bed bugs, which drink the blood of sleeping people) sleep in the day and wake up after sunset.
Are there any insects that don’t sleep?
As far as we know, all insects need to rest. Almost all animals need to sleep, with only two possible exceptions. One is the bullfrog, which was found to respond equally to electric shocks whether they were awake or resting, leading scientists to speculate that they don’t sleep at all. However, other scientists have criticized this study for not providing enough evidence to reach this conclusion.
Another is the dolphin, which is able to sleep with only half of its brain at a time. Half-asleep dolphins can still swim around and respond to their environment, so it seems they never enter a fully resting state.
All living organisms need to sleep to stay healthy. Without it, their cognitive and physical functions start to decline, which can harm their chances of survival. Insects are no exception to this rule – even bugs need to sleep!
The rest-state of bugs is usually described as torpor, which is comparable to sleep in humans. When in this resting state, bugs will find a sheltered place and ‘switch off’ for a few hours. During this time, they are less responsive to stimuli and will twitch occasionally, just like people do.
Different insect species sleep in different locations, and at different times of the day. The Circadian rhythm of bugs is determined by their eating patterns, and they will sleep whenever they are not actively looking for food.