What Is Mysterious Over The Elephant's Natural Sleep Pattern?

First Posted: Mar 03, 2017 04:53 AM EST

Most experts believed that all living organisms need sufficient sleep to survive, but not for the elephants. These massive creatures survive with just a short period of sleep. Their little sleep remains to be a mystery as of this time.

BBC reports that elephants in zoos sleep for four to six hours a day. On the other hand, in their natural surroundings, the elephants only sleep for two hours, particularly at night. Some of them stayed awake for several days sometimes. One reason for this is that they traveled long distance probably to escape the poachers or the lions.

Professor Paul Manger of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, said that elephants are the shortest sleeping mammal that seems related to their large body size. He further said that elephants might only dream every three to four days. He added that given the well-known memory of the elephant, this calls into question theories associating REM sleep with memory consolidation.

So, what could probably be the reason of this little sleep of these massive creatures? Prof. Manger said that the elephants should be the shortest sleeping mammal because they are the largest. In general, the smaller-bodied mammals sleep for longer than the larger ones. The sloths sleep for 14 hours a day and humans sleep for 8 hours.

Meanwhile, a study was conducted to follow the sleep patterns of the elephants for a month. It was led by researchers from South Africa, Botswana, and the United States. It involved a pair of elephants in which the researchers observed their sleeping patterns.

The results showed that elephants both African and Asian slept with their trunk resting on the ground for only three to six hours or so. On the other hand, the team found that because of their harsher lives such as escaping the poachers and lions, they would only sleep around two and a half hours, according to Gizmodo.

Prof. Manger said that they were not sure why this occurs. He further said that sleep is one of those unusual mysteries of biology -- that along with eating and reproduction, it is one of the biological imperatives. He concluded that each one must sleep to survive.

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