do horses sleep with their eyes open


Do horses Sleep with their Eyes Open?

Horses are quite the mysterious and magnificent animals. Not only are they incredibly intelligent, but people have been using horses for transportation, agriculture, entertainment, and war for centuries. Though horses have a similar sleep pattern to humans, there’s one difference that has left many people puzzled: can horses sleep with their eyes open?

Why Do Horses Seem to Sleep with their Eyes Open?

When you see a horse sleeping while standing up, its eyes appear to be open but there’s no real activity. Some horses, especially those kept in stables, are known to doze off with their eyes seemingly wide open. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as “daydreaming” or “standing sleep” although other animals, such as cows and deer, have been observed doing it.

What’s Actually Happening?

Though it may seem like horses are sleeping with their eyes open, this is actually not the case. Horses have something called “rem cycles”, which are periods of light sleep during which the horse is able to remain standing and alert. During these cycles, the horse’s eyes remain partially or completely open, but the horse is not fully aware of its surroundings.

Why Do Horses Have these Rem Cycles?

Horses have developed this ability to stay standing and alert during periods of rest due to their prey animal instincts and behavior. Horses in the wild must remain vigilant to guard against potential predators, so they often take short naps during which they can remain alert and responsive.

The fact that horses can sleep standing up and keep their eyes partially open allows them to keep an eye out for potential threats. This ensures their safety and survival in the wild.


So, do horses sleep with their eyes open? The answer is no—though it may appear that way, horses actually have something called rem cycles, during which they can rest while standing up and remain alert. This helps them to stay safe and survive in the wild.