4 Animals That Sleep Standing Up

Have you ever fallen asleep when you are standing up? It’s usually a tactic we can only pull off when inebriated. However, for some animals, sleeping whilst standing up is actually their go-to habit!

While I can say for sure that sleeping standing would be no good for my back, some animals find it more comfortable. Which animals, then, have a habit of sleeping without actually lying down?


The horse is an animal that can stand on its legs and fall asleep. While some horses will naturally lie down, some horses can sleep whilst standing up and actually find it more comfortable. This is something that many horses do when they perhaps don’t have the sleeping conditions to actually lie down in the first place.

It looks quite mesmeric, and given the size of a horse, it can still appear quite intimidating without really doing anything.


Massive as they come, the giraffe is another animal that can fall asleep without lying down. They are one of the oddest animals that we know of, with many of their quirks breaking away from the traditional norms that one might expect. As babies, though, they definitely lie down and fall asleep with their heads rested upon their backs.

However, as adults, they tend to primarily stand up while they fall asleep. Their bodies remain upright, and they are still alert enough to spring into action if required.


Another animal that can stand up and fall asleep is the zebra. Given the horse can do so, why can’t the unfairly named ‘painted horse’ not do the same? They sleep when standing up because of where they reside. Most zebras sleep in the open plains, leaving them open to being attacked by predators that linger around on the outskirts.

If they sleep upright, they can easily wake up and get away from a predator faster than they could if they were sleeping whilst lying down.


Last but not least, the humble flamingo is an animal that sleeps whilst standing. It can fall asleep while it is standing on just one leg. This is thanks to the fact their leg muscles can essentially lock into place, like a tripod, without them having to do anything to keep their balance.

It is quite incredible to see, actually, and one of the many reasons why people find flamingos to be such excitable and entertaining creatures.