Do Great White Sharks Sleep?

Have you ever wondered how great white sharks sleep? It is one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of these apex predators.

Recent research has shed light on the behavior of great white sharks, giving us a better understanding of how they live and rest in their underwater habitats.

Sharks do rest throughout the day, the way they do it is vastly different from what other animals engage in.

This article will answer the question: do great white sharks sleep? We’ll look at the evidence that suggests they do, as well as discuss their sleeping patterns and habits

Do Great White Sharks Sleep

Do Great White Sharks Sleep?

The thought of a sleeping shark may seem like an oxymoron, but it is in fact true. Contrary to popular belief, sharks do sleep, though their sleeping habits are quite different from those of humans.

With their ability to stay constantly alert and aware at all times, sharks have evolved a unique way of resting that allows them to remain conscious even when they appear to be asleep.

From the moment they wake up to the moment they drift off to sleep, sharks always seem to be aware of their surroundings. (Ballard, 2022) But even when they are resting, it turns out that half of their brain is still active.

In fact, studies have shown that when they are resting, their eyes remain open and aware of what’s going on around them. This remarkable ability allows sharks to react quickly if they sense danger or perceive something out of the ordinary.

The mysterious behavior and life of the great white shark has been a source of fascination for scientists. However, until recently, their slumber was one of the least understood aspects of this majestic creature.

But now, with the use of technology and underwater cameras, researchers have gained unparalleled insight into how these incredible creatures take their rest.

The Discovery Channel recently captured some remarkable footage following a female great white shark, nicknamed Emma.

The footage follows the majestic creature as she swims around the ocean depths and reveals her unique behavior when night falls.

As the sun sets, Emma’s behavior begins to change – something that has never been documented before. Instead of swimming freely in the open ocean, they began to hug the shoreline and stay close to the bottom

It was 8.30pm when the researchers observed that She began to open her jaws and entered an almost catatonic state, but still continued to move through the water albeit at a much slower pace than usual.

How Do Great White Sharks Sleep?

Great white sharks have a unique sleeping pattern compared to other animals. They don’t sleep like most animals; instead, they take short naps that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to hours. This behavior allows them to conserve energy for their active lifestyle in the ocean.

Great white sharks have an incredible way of staying in a deep state of rest while still being able to detect their surroundings.

They do this by not having eyelids, meaning their eyes stay perpetually open.

This means they can monitor what is going on around them without ever having to lift a fin. With the combined power of their acute senses and their ability to stay at rest.

Sharks have developed a clever technique for conserving energy during rest periods, allowing them to stay in one place without expending too much energy.

During these rest periods, the shark is allowing the current to pass through its gills whilst it expands as little energy as possible.

When Do Great White Sharks Sleep?

Great white sharks are one of the most majestic and feared creatures in the ocean.

Known for their powerful hunting skills and agility, one of the most interesting behaviors of great white sharks is that during the day, they typically swim deep to wait for prey to swim above so they can strike and make a catch.

This is when white sharks are most active and alert, however, when night falls, their behavior changes significantly.

At nighttime sharks come alive and take advantage of the dark to hunt. Lurking in the shadows and close to the shoreline, these apex predators stay very close to the bottom while gliding through the water with their mouths open.

But they need sleep to function properly. They may be sleeping during night-time hours when their prey is likely to be less active.

Beside sleeping serve them as a way to stay hidden from potential threats. Sleeping at night helps them stay out of sight and remain undetected.

How Do Marine Organisms Sleep?

Sleep is an essential part of life for all living creatures and fishes, including marine organisms. Let’s take a closer look at the sleeping patterns of various marine creatures


Dolphins are an incredibly unique species when it comes to sleeping habits.

Unlike humans, who require both hemispheres of their brain to enter a state of deep slumber.

Dolphins use a curious process known as unihemispheric sleep (Unihemispheric Slow-Wave Sleep in the Amazonian Dolphin, Inia Geoffrensis). unihemispheric slow-wave sleep (USWS) means a sleeping type when one half of the brain rests while the other half remains alert.

Thus dolphins sleep in this way they rest one side of its brain at a time, while the other side remains in a state of alertness.


Despite having one of the shortest lifespans among marine animals, octopuses spend most of their waking moments exploring and being active. According to researchers, an average octopus only sleeps for two hours in a period of twelve hours (Sanders, 2021) .Most interestingly, out of these two hours, only five minutes is spent in active sleep.

Sea turtle

Sea turtles have the remarkable ability to sleep both on the surface of the water or in the underwater rocks near shorelines. Sleeping underwater is an essential part of sea turtle survival.

It allows them to remain hidden from predators and be better protected from the elements. It is also one of the safest places for them to rest, as they can take advantage of natural protection from rocks and other structures.


Whales sleep in an incredibly unique way – by resting one half of their brain at a time. While one half of the brain remains awake and alert to its environment, the other half enters a state of restful sleep.

This incredible adaptation allows whales to stay safe from predators while still getting the rest they need to keep swimming and living in the ocean.

Sea lions

Sea lions are an interesting and unique species of marine mammal. Basically these sea creatures spend more than 15 hours a day sleeping.

Sea lions sleep both at sea and on land or in the water, which makes them adapted to a variety of environments.

When at sea, sleeping and resting usually takes place in the water, but when on land sea lions will also opt to snooze or take a nap.


How Long Do Great White Sharks Sleep?

Great white sharks have a completely different approach to sleep than other animals, and scientists are still trying to understand the full extent of their unusual behaviors.

Unlike most animals, these apex predators do not require long periods of uninterrupted rest in order to stay energized. Instead, they seem to take short naps, ranging from 30 minutes up to several hours at a time.

Do Sharks Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Sharks have evolved over millions of years to keep their eyes open at all times even during the few moments they rest.

It turns out that unlike other animals, these predators are actually incapable of closing their eyes due to certain physiological and anatomical adaptations.

What Do The Sharks Do Other Than Sleeping?

Sharks have a unique lifestyle that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Despite their reputation, sharks have only three main things on their to-do list – cruising in the sea, hunting for prey when hungry, and finding a spot to rest once they’ve had their fill.

Sharks use their powerful fins to effortlessly glide through the sea while enjoying their time in the open water.

Do sharks sleep while swimming?

Sharks are some of the most fascinating creatures of the sea that have captivated humans for centuries. However, many people don’t know that different species of sharks breathe in different ways, and this can influence how they rest.

Some species are thought to ‘sleep swim’, which is a form of locomotion used when resting. Others lie stationary on the seafloor and some species even snuggle up in groups or school together.

Are sharks still when they sleep?

Sharks remain a mysterious species, yet we continue to learn more and more about their intriguing behaviors.

Perhaps one of the most peculiar of these behaviors is their ability to engage in periods of deep rest while still remaining alert and conscious an ability which can only be achieved by bypassing sleep in the traditional sense.

Incredibly, despite lacking eyelids, sharks are able to keep their eyes perpetually open during this process.


Great white sharks do sleep, but they rely on more than just rest to stay alive. Unlike most animals that sleep for 8-9 hours per day, great white sharks are able to take short rests throughout the day and night by entering a state of “somnolence”.

This allows them to remain alert while they rest so they can continue swimming and hunting while conserving energy. Hope this article helps you to get the answer about Do Great White Sharks Sleep?