How Long Do Ants Sleep a Day?

Unlike humans, ants do not sleep in the traditional sense. They sleep when they’re tired and most of the time their sleep isn’t in the form of a full blown slumber. Instead, they sleep in short periods of time called polyphasic rest.

Ants can sleep for up to nine hours a day, but they don’t do it all at once. They sleep in short, random bursts called “sleep episodes” that are typically only about five minutes long.

The length of ant sleep varies from species to species, but they tend to sleep for about three or four hours a day. Interestingly, the length of ant sleep varies within colonies, too. In one study, the workers of a colony of fire ants took an average of 253 “sleep episodes” a day.

However, the queens of that colony took about 92 “sleep episodes” a night. Unlike workers, queens sleep in a much deeper state.

The longest ant sleep ever recorded, on the other hand, was about ten minutes. The polyphasic rest concept is important because it allows ants to keep their energy levels up.

Ants are also good at overwintering. They stay inside their homes through the cold months and come out to forage for food in the spring.

They have also been studied in laboratory colonies. In one study, a researcher from the University of South Florida discovered that queen ants took 90 “sleep episodes” a week, or nearly twice as much as workers. This is important because it helps explain the difference in life span between queens and workers.