Sleeping Habits of the Horses: How Do Horses Sleep?

Did you know horses have an interesting sleeping pattern? These beautiful creatures have sleep schedules that are diametrically opposed to ours. Humans typically sleep for eight hours out of every twenty-four hours. Horses, on the other hand, only sleep for short durations at different times during the day. They do not sleep well at any time of day or night. Horses’ sleeping patterns, like those of people, alter as they age.


An adult horse gets three hours of sleep every day on average. What you eat, how hot or cold it is, what you do for a livelihood, whether you’re pregnant or not, and your gender all have an impact. Each stage of sleep lasts for just a few minutes. Older horses are less inclined to nap than foals and young horses. Horses sleep more as they become older.


A newborn colt would spend over half of each day napping until the age of three months. As puppies get bigger, they prefer to stand rather than lie down, and they take fewer naps overall. The weather has a big impact on how a horse sleeps.

Sleeping Positions of Horses

It is true that horses prefer to sleep on their feet. A horse will frequently stand on three legs when at rest, two in front and one behind. The other hind leg will rest above the claw. Horses can rest their hind legs in a variety of stances by shifting their hips in different directions, giving each leg a break in turn.


During deep slumber, the head and neck may droop, the ears may drop, the lips may droop, and the eyelids may close. The horses will snore and squirm while sleeping. This could be similar to what happens during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. Weight gain may strain the respiratory system, resulting in loud snoring.

How Do Horses Sleep Standing?

Horses may surprisingly sleep while standing. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons in a horse’s legs enable it to sleep in an upright posture. Now, horses having the potential to lock their knees may sleep while standing without danger of toppling over.


A horse can retain balance on all fours while nodding asleep. Therefore, he rests his other leg. This allows him to sleep in a standing position by alternating and resting on each of his four legs. When you consider that some horses may weigh over 500 kg, you can appreciate how crucial this feature is for these animals.


For equine sleep, both standing and reclining positions are suitable. Researchers have found that daily lying down is vital for the health of horses. Because horse sleep consists of five distinct phases, some of which are lighter than others. After the lighter periods of sleep, the horse enters its final stage of sleep, known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Furthermore, only while lying down can people reach the deep sleep stage, which is necessary for brain function. This is why horses need frequent intervals of laying down relaxation. While sleeping upright, horses have a self-protective mechanism that inhibits them from entering REM sleep.


It is critical that wild horses be able to sleep while standing. Because of these characteristics, free-roaming wild horses may escape being targeted by hunters. Horses are easy prey for hunters after being captured because they are hesitant to rise. They have a better chance of avoiding any potential threats if they sleep standing up.

Sleeping Habits

Horses can lie motionless for lengthy periods of time, it’s not uncommon to see numerous horses basking in the sun on a warm spring day. Some of the horses may lie down and rest, while others may keep guard nearby. Even on a snowy yet sunny day, there were a few horses laying about. The manner a horse sleeps varies widely between individuals. Some individuals like to sleep during the day, while others prefer to sleep exclusively at night.


If the temperature, humidity, and precipitation are all below normal, your horse may have trouble sleeping. If your horse is asleep, do not disturb it. If you take care to protect your horse from being disturbed, he will enjoy a more comfortable night’s sleep. Your horse needs a comfy place to land, whether in a stall or in the field.


Adult horses normally keep an upright stance. Tendons and ligaments in their fore and rear legs enable them to sleep standing rather than lying down. Horses are more stressed while they are laying down than when they are erect.


Under the burden of their own body weight, their inside organs are squashed. Nonetheless, if the horses can rest comfortably, they will do so every day. Some folks may relax to the point of snoring and twitching like a dog. It is critical to offer a big, dry and shaded space for your horse to rest in peace.


Some senior horses may need more than the recommended three hours of sleep each day. This rest is divided into many brief snoozes rather than one big one.


If you suspect your horse is unwell, you should call a veterinarian immediately. When in question about your pet’s health, consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to detect and treat any problems that emerge if you keep them up to speed on your horse’s medical history.