There are some animals out there that are capable of sleeping in very strange positions. You might see cats curled up into tiny balls sleeping happily in small spaces.
Another oddity that people often take note of is how horses can sleep standing up. If you raise horses on your property, then you’re probably very familiar with how horses do this.
Seeing stuff like this has led some people to the question of whether or not humans can sleep standing up. Is it possible for a human to fall asleep standing up or is this biologically impossible?
Keep reading to learn about humans and whether they can sleep standing up. You’ll also learn other facts about sleeping that will interest you.
Humans Can’t Sleep Standing up
Humans can’t sleep standing up because they’re physically incapable of doing so. The reason why horses can sleep standing up is that their legs can lock in place and they are able to remain standing even while sleeping.
A human being has no such mechanism in their legs. There is no leg-locking capability that you can rely on to stay upright.
Since humans lack the proper anatomical features to make this happen, that means that a human would simply fall down if they fell asleep standing up. It’s possible for someone to fall asleep because of exhaustion while standing, but they won’t remain standing.
It’s important for people to be able to get enough sleep at night so that they don’t get so exhausted. Sleeping while standing up isn’t an option and you need to ensure that you’re sleeping for seven or eight hours each night for the sake of your health.
The Human Brain Isn’t Designed to Sleep Standing up Either
The human brain isn’t designed to allow humans to sleep standing up either. When you enter a sleep state, your muscles are going to become paralyzed.
You won’t be capable of moving as you normally do once you enter a certain stage of the sleep cycle. In fact, the brain is going to produce neurotransmitters that are designed to relax your muscles.
This is part of the reason why someone would fall down if they fell asleep while standing or walking. You experience temporary paralysis during deep stages of the sleep cycle as well.
When you’re sleeping, it’s not going to be possible to stand or to do much else really. Some people even wake up when they’re still in a state of sleep paralysis.
This can be quite alarming and off-putting, but it really isn’t anything to worry about. Sometimes people just wake up a bit before the sleep paralysis wears off.
What About Sleepwalking?
There is an exception to what has been discussed so far. Some people are able to sleepwalk, and this means that they are capable of getting up and walking or even running while they’re sleeping.
This is a type of arousal disorder and it seems to occur when people experience night terrors more often than not. It can be a serious problem for some people because they could get hurt while sleepwalking due to not being truly cognizant of what is going on.
For instance, someone could fall down the stairs while sleepwalking or they could walk into oncoming traffic. It’s truly a bizarre disorder that doesn’t always make sense.
This means that under normal circumstances, humans cannot sleep standing up. When someone is sleepwalking, their muscles aren’t paralyzed due to the stage of the sleep cycle that they’re in.
Sleepwalking appears to most commonly occur during the first few hours of the night. It’s also been noted that sleepwalking is a fairly common thing for some children.
If you or someone that you love is sleepwalking, then you should talk to a doctor. It’s a good idea to get things checked out because you want to try to manage the condition to be safe.
Claims of Soldiers Sleeping While Standing up
Some have claimed to see soldiers sleeping while standing up when they’re on guard duty. This might sound like something that you would see in a cartoon, but many say that this has indeed happened.
Rather than the soldier truly being in a deep state of sleep, it might be the case that the soldier is starting to nod off. Someone who is quite exhausted could easily feel like they could fall asleep while standing up.
Sometimes soldiers are tasked with guarding certain areas for long periods of time. It makes sense that they would become exhausted at a certain point in time.
This means that it’s somewhat possible that soldiers could get accustomed to dozing off a bit while standing up. However, it’s not the same as being in a deep state of sleep while standing still.
Even a highly-trained soldier would fall down when entering deep sleep. It’s certainly hard work being a soldier and you can understand why they would be so tired under certain circumstances.
Even Sleeping While Sitting Upright Can Be Tough for Some Individuals
Now that you know that sleeping normally while standing isn’t possible for humans, you might be wondering about sleeping while sitting upright. People certainly can sleep while they’re in a sitting position, but it isn’t always easy for people.
It can be tougher to fall asleep while you’re sitting up than it is when you’re truly laying down. You might need to be truly exhausted to be able to sleep while sitting upright.
Have you ever tried to fall asleep on a flight and just couldn’t? Lots of people struggle with this because they just can’t get comfortable enough to drift off to sleep.
Some people might need to sleep upright when they’re experiencing respiratory issues, though. The important thing about sleeping is to be able to get comfortable enough so that you feel like you can fall asleep.
How to Improve Your Sleep at Night
Getting a good night’s rest is easier said than done for some people. If you feel exhausted during the day, then you might feel like you could pass out on your feet sometimes.
You aren’t going to be able to sleep while standing up at work, though, and it wouldn’t be good to try even if you were capable of doing that. That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to improve your sleep at night.
Start trying to get to bed a little earlier each night. It’s better to try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule so that you can feel ready to tackle the day in the morning.
As tempting as it might be to stay awake and watch TV for a few extra hours, your body is going to benefit more from getting enough rest. Start winding down and relaxing a few hours before bed and try to avoid using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop around that time.
Those devices emit blue light that can mess with your sleep schedule. Place your devices out of your reach and just try to take it easy by doing something relaxing.
Stop drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon. If you drink caffeinated beverages too close to your bedtime, then it might keep you awake for longer than you’d like.
Try to maintain good sleep habits like this and you’ll feel a lot better during the day. It’s a step in the right direction for anyone who regularly feels exhausted in the morning.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.