Do Sharks Move When They Sleep?

Do Sharks Move When They Sleep?

Sharks are very active animals that people actually wonder if they find time to rest just like other animals do. More so, if they get to rest, do they stay still? or do they move? Of course, this question comes to mind when you learn that some shark species need to swim continuously to breathe.

Now to the question, “Do Sharks Move When They Sleep?” The truth is that sharks move when they sleep. Although, the level of movement would depend on how the shark is breathing. Certainly, there is a belief that sharks must constantly move to stay alive. This depends on the shark species after all. But, no matter how active a shark may be, it still has its restive periods.

For sharks that need to swim constantly to breathe, they usually sleep swim. This means that sharks have to move while sleeping to breathe.

Though this does not apply to all sharks, those in this category have no other choice than to swim while sleeping. By so doing, they get water to move over their gills so that they can breathe.

Do Sharks sleep?

Sharks do swim or rest to restore energy lost during their active periods. Although, sharks are not deep sleepers. They are still likely active and aware of their environment even as they sleep.

When ram ventilator sharks sleep, parts of their brain go into a restive state while they are still able to swim. This is to keep water moving over their gills.

Sharks generally have periods they are most active. And, at this time, they usually hunt for prey and food.

On the other hand, they also have periods that they rest to regain lost energy.

Will Sharks Die If They Stop Moving?

This is a two-way question that can have a true or false answer. The truth is that sharks may not die if they stop moving. However, it depends largely on the species of shark in question.

For example, shark species such as the great white shark and the mako shark would definitely swim always to stay alive. If they ever stop, then they will sink to the bottom of the ocean and die.

But, for reef sharks as an example, these sharks wouldn’t die if they stop swimming. In fact, they usually rest without moving on the seafloor and under reefs mostly during the day.

Do Sharks Stop Moving When They Sleep?

Some sharks need to move constantly why some do not need to move like that. A shark species, the nurse shark has spiracles that help them breathe.

These spiracles help to force water across their gills allowing the sharks to rest. Some sharks can’t stop moving when they sleep because if they do, they won’t be able to breathe.

If an animal is not able to breathe, the animal might die. Sharks have both active periods and restful periods. It is in some shark’s restful period that they can sleep.

How Do Sharks Sleep If They Continuously Swim to Breathe?

Sharks sleep swim. They are said to swim even while sleeping. This can sound impossible because when some animals sleep, their whole body is in a restive state.

Sharks though they sleep swim do not sleep exactly. According to their different species, their sleep patterns vary. Some shark species do not sleep at all.

Sharks do sleep in their restful period. Even at this period, they still have to swim because they need water to move over their gills. This helps them to breathe.

What Type of Shark Sleeps?

It is believed that some sharks sleep. You need to know the particular type of shark that can sleep. it will be discussed below.

Sharks that usually stay at the bottom of the sea are able to sleep or to be at rest. These sharks when they want to sleep, swim to the bottom of the sea and sleep.

Even while they sleep, they still have to breathe through spiracles. Examples of such sharks are:- Nurse shark, Lemon shark, Caribbean reef shark.

Do Sharks Protect Themselves While They Sleep?

While sharks sleep, some parts of their brains are still active. So while sleeping, they are not really in deep sleep.

They are still aware of their surrounding environment. It is pertinent to know that while sharks sleep, their eyes are always open.

This is so because most of them do not have eyelids. This will help the shark to know what is happening around them, and to protect themselves.

The shark will be able to see any danger because it comes near them. So, the shark can protect themselves even while sleeping.

Do Great White Sharks Sleep?

This is a species of shark. This shark sleeps. The sleeping pattern is different. The great white shark sleeps, but in order to sleep, they need to move. They move so that water can go over their gills.

This helps them to breathe. Shark species that move while sleeping is called OBLIGATE RAM VENTILATORS.

It is important to know if the different shark species move while they sleep or if they don’t. These will be discussed below.

Do Tiger Sharks Sleep?

These species of sharks have two periods. In these periods, they engage in all their activities. The tiger sharks sleep but they do these in their restful periods. This is the only time they get to rest.

Even while they sleep, they also keep swimming to breathe. They are also called OBLIGATE RAM VENTILATORS.

Do Whale Sharks Move While Sleeping?

The whale shark is the largest. This shark is always active. There are among the sharks that do not necessarily sleep. Part of their brain is usually less active when they rest.

They have to continue moving so that water can flow over their gills. This is to ensure they breathe. The whale shark is a shark that also belongs to obligate ram ventilators.

The whale sharks do not sleep because they need to keep moving to breathe. They do not have spiracles which could have helped them to breathe.

Do Whitetip Reef Sharks Move When They Sleep?

Whitetip reef shark does not move when they sleep. They stay at a place when they are in a restful state. They do not move while they sleep because they have spiracles. These spiracles help them to breathe. So, they do not have to move(swim) to be able to breathe.

Do Wobbegong Shark’s Move When They Sleep?

This shark wobbegong unlike other sharks that have to move to breathe does not move while they sleep. They are able to stay at a place to sleep. They are not in motion while sleeping.

Do Lemon Sharks Move When They Sleep?

Different species of shark cannot stay at a place while sleeping. They have to constantly be in motion. This is not so for the lemon shark. The lemon shark can stay at a place while sleeping.

Do Caribbean Reef Sharks move when they sleep?

These species of shark do not move also. They are stationary. They stay at a place while they sleep. The spiracles help to produce oxygen to them nevertheless they need not move.

Do Hammerhead Sharks Move When They Sleep?

These sharks are in constant movement. They move even in their restful periods. Hammerhead sharks move while they sleep. If they don’t move, they won’t be able to breathe.

Do Megamouth Sharks Move When They Sleep?

These sharks do not stop moving while sleeping. They are always in constant motion. They swim while sleeping so that water can get over their gills. These help the shark to breathe.

Do Thresher sharks move when they sleep?

This is another species of shark that is not that common. These species of shark-like other sharks need to move while sleeping. This is how their body has been made to function. Even if there are in their restful period, they still keep moving. This is to ensure they survive.

Why Do Sharks Move When They Sleep?

Most animals do not move when they sleep. It can sound weird to think that some animals move while sleeping. For humans, you can call it sleep-walking.

Sharks being the amazing creatures that they are have certain features that are rare to find. Many have believed that sharks are those creatures that never rest.

They believe sharks never sleep. Sharks are active creatures but they also find time to rest and sleep. Sharks move when they sleep because they need to receive oxygen.

This actually depends on the species of the shark. Some do not move at all while sleeping. Those that move are those that don’t have spiracles (that helps to breathe). So, they have to adapt to continuous swimming to stay alive. This is why they move they sleep.

Without moving, will shark still be able to sleep?

Some ask if sharks will still be able to sleep if they don’t move. Well, the answer is yes. There is a way their body has been programmed.

Even if they don’t move, they will still be able to sleep. They just have to make use of the spiracles. These spiracles will enable them to breathe while sleeping.

Do Sharks Stop Swimming to Sleep?

Naturally, sharks swim while sleeping to breathe. These do not apply to all species though. Those that need to swim to breathe, cannot stop swimming to sleep.

Those species that barely need to swim to breathe while sleeping can do without swimming. It depends on the species.

It also depends on if the shark can still survive if it stops swimming. Even though some sharks continue swimming while sleeping, they still don’t get tired.

Their body has been made in such a way that they can do two things at the same time.


Sharks need to rest to restore their energy just like any other animal. However, the way these creatures rest may amaze you.

Sharks do not sleep unconsciously, in fact, they are mostly aware of their surrounding while sleeping. And, as described in this article, the resting state varies with shark species.