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Do Horses Sleep Standing Up

Horses can enter a phase of light sleep or nap while standing up, but to get proper deep sleep, they need to lie down in short bursts of 15-20 minutes occasionally.

Why Do Horses Sleep Standing Up

Since horses have a straight back, they cannot get up quickly from a lying position, making it more likely to being hunted by predators in their natural habitat. Therefore, horses are adapted to snooze while standing so they can quickly escape any approaching threat.

Do Horses Sleep Standing Up

How do Horses Sleep

While Standing Up

Horses have a specialized stay apparatus, an anatomical feature, which helps relax their leg muscles and snooze without falling down. When horses stand at rest, they lock their kneecaps in place using a group of ligaments and tendons. It prevents their legs from bending when they doze off.

When Do They Lay Down

Do Horses Lay Down to Sleep

For proper mental and physical functioning, horses do require REM sleep which can only be attained by lying down. In the wild, they usually lie down when in herds so there are some herd members standing and watching for predators. Deep sleep generally takes place when they are stretched out flat on their side, rather than lying down on their chest.

How Long Do Horses Need to Sleep

Horses do not require prolonged uninterrupted periods of sleep, and instead, take several short intervals of rest. Their total rest time in a day can range from 4 to 15 hours, including about 2-3 hours of deep sleep. The short bursts of deep sleep typically consist of 5 min of slow-wave sleep, 5 min of REM sleep, and another 5 min of slow-wave sleep.

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