do sea turtles sleep underwater

Do Sea Turtles Sleep Underwater?

Have you ever wondered where and how sea turtles sleep? Do they sleep underwater or on the surface of the water? The answer might surprise you.

Sea Turtles Do Sleep Underwater

Sea turtles do indeed sleep underwater, though the exact way that they sleep and the amount of time they spend asleep varies by species. In general, sea turtles spend much of their time sleeping while underwater and use their flippers to help them stay near the bottom of the ocean or a certain body of water. They usually remain still, but they can also drift around while they rest.

How Long Do Sea Turtles Sleep For?

The duration of sleep for a sea turtle depends on the species and other environmental factors. For example, sea turtles that live in colder waters may need to sleep longer because they need more rest and may not move around as much as sea turtles in warmer regions.

Overall, researchers have found that sea turtles may sleep between 2-7 hours each day, and that the longest sleep times are typically at nighttime in the deeper parts of the ocean.

Adaptations That Help Sea Turtles Sleep Underwater

There are several adaptations that help sea turtles sleep underwater. Firstly, sea turtles have a special organ in their heads commonly referred to as an ‘autonomic lobe’. This allows them to enter a trance-like state and “sleep with their eyes open” in order to conserve energy.

In addition, sea turtles have trait known as “sleep mode swimming”, where they can control their breathing to enter brief periods of rest while swimming. This helps them conserve energy.

Finally, sea turtles are able to utilize their flippers to help them stay still while sleeping underwater.


In conclusion, sea turtles do sleep underwater – they use their flippers to help them stay near the bottom of the ocean, and they have special adaptations that help them enter a trance-like state and conserve energy. The exact duration of sleep varies by species, but generally sea turtles may sleep between 2-7 hours each day.

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