Sleeping whales

From: Kim Marshall-Tilas (
Date: Sun Dec 24 2000 - 09:06:24 EST

Reply: Dear Amy
Whales are believed to sleep for very short time spans. They seem to
shut down half of their brain at a time, because if they shut their
entire brain down, they would stop breathing. Humans don't need to
be conscious to breathe. We can sleep and still breathe. But whales
must remind themselves constantly to breathe. With right whales, we
have seen that the whales will seem to fall asleep and start sinking
under the surface. However, they wake up in a few minutes and rise
to the surface to breathe.
Don't forget to use the WhaleNet pages for more detailed information.
Try the how to find section at or read the Ask a Scientist
archives as well. Thak you and happy holidays!


>I was wondering if humpback whales sleep? when and where? My
>daughter came home from school and said she was suppose to find
>out..I cant find anything about whales sleeping behavior... I was
>wondering if you could let me know... Thanks Amy

Kim Marshall-Tilas
Senior Director
Ocean Alliance/Whale Conservation Institute
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA  01773
781.259.0423 or fax 259.0288

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