We have all been pretty tired at times and may have caught ourselves nodding off while waiting in line for an early flight, on the subway to work or elsewhere, but seeing how sperm whales sleep is pretty darn cool. Why? Because as you can see from the image above, they sleep perpendicular in the water.
The photo was shot by photographer Magnus Lundgren for Wild Wonders of Europe from a few years ago, but sheds some insight into how whales sleep. Until a few years back, the common thought was sperm whales and other cetaceans only allowed one side of their brain to rest at a time. This “sleeping with one eye open” approach was challenged when this team of researchers came upon a pod sperm whales bobbing up in the water off the coast of Chile. None of the whales seemed to notice the team’s boat until one was accidentally bumped then it awoke and fled (along with the rest of the pod).
The team’s findings suggest sperm whales are different from other cetaceans, and actually enter short, but periodic, bouts of sleep throughout the day.