Animal sleep: a review of sleep duration across phylogeny

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 1984 Fall;8(3):269-300. doi: 10.1016/0149-7634(84)90054-x.


Sleep duration and placement within the twenty-four hour day have been primary indices utilized in the examination of sleep function. It is of value, therefore, to evaluate these variables in a wide range of animal species. The present paper examines the literature concerning sleep duration in over 150 animal species, including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and 14 orders of mammals. We first present annotations of almost 200 studies, including number of animals used, photoperiod employed, sleep duration per twenty-four hours and placement of sleep period within the nychthemeron. Both behavioral and electrographic studies are reviewed, as are laboratory and field studies. These data are subsequently presented in a table with representative literature citations for each species. Following the table, a brief discussion is presented concerning some methodological issues which may affect the measurement of sleep duration and some suggestions are made for future examination of sleep duration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians
  • Animals
  • Arousal
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Birds
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Electroencephalography
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Invertebrates
  • Mammals
  • Phylogeny*
  • Primates
  • Reptiles
  • Sleep Stages*
  • Species Specificity
  • Wakefulness