How Much Do Giraffes Sleep? A Complete Guide

You might think that giraffes are ungainly, impractical creatures with long necks and short legs. They’re often used as the butt of jokes about being too tall for anything. But you might be surprised to know that giraffes are actually graceful animals with some pretty interesting habits.

For example, did you know that giraffes sleep up to 20 hours per day? And they do so standing up! Here, is everything you need to know about the life and sleeping habits of a giraffe.

How long do giraffes sleep per day?

Giraffes sleep anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour per day, depending on how old they are. A young giraffe will sleep in the grass, with their neck stretched out in the air. A middle-aged or elderly giraffe will sleep on their backs, and they will sleep with their legs stretched out in front of them.

How long do giraffes sleep at night? Around 15 minutes per night, but they might sleep for as long as 5 hours at a time. According to the African Wildlife Foundation, giraffes “take a long nap (up to three hours) at midday to give them time to rest before the heat of the day,” so they might sleep a lot in the heat of the day. Is it possible to tell if a giraffe is awake or sleeping?

Why do giraffes sleep standing up?

It might seem strange, but giraffes are not an especially napping species. Their two main sleep patterns are the early morning and evening, and they perform these cycles throughout the day and night. In general, their morning sleep is light, but once dusk arrives, giraffes shift into a deep sleep to ready themselves for the next day.

Why do they sleep standing up? Like many animals, giraffes have a symbiotic relationship with their habitat. The giraffes’ long necks are built to bend down and pick up grass from the ground, and this is an important behavior when it comes to feeding.

Therefore, when they take their afternoon siesta, their necks are at 90 degrees and their necks will stay that way for several hours, blocking the sun’s rays and keeping them cool.

What does a sleeping giraffe look like?

The giraffe has long been known for its strange sleeping habits. Even though they stand on all fours, they sleep like most animals. But they usually take shorter naps than most. In fact, if they do sleep standing, it’s usually for just a couple of minutes.

You’ll often see a sleeping giraffe with one leg stuck out in front of it, while the other leg is tucked beneath its body. You’ll also find them with their head tilted to the side. Their neck is bent at a 45-degree angle. And, their legs are tucked beneath their body.

As you can see in the photo below, this giraffe looks as if it has fallen asleep in a fetal position. Giraffe sleeping posture. (Image credit: Brad Cates, USA) You can see that this giraffe is propped up on one elbow.

When do giraffes sleep during the day and night?

Giraffes sleep in a variety of ways. Some sleep in a hunched position while others sleep on their backs or side. There’s also the lazing motion that looks like they’re just lying around. Although, you shouldn’t think of them as simply resting.

They actually spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping! What happens during a giraffe’s sleep? In order to sleep, giraffes first close their eyes and often rest their heads on their necks. Then, they either curl into a ball and roll over, or they sit up and face the direction they’re sleeping.

Their tail isn’t always in the air, either, as it can sway to the side or just hang down. Then, they finally lay their heads back down and go to sleep! Why do giraffes sleep standing up?

How much time do they spend awake and what do they do at that time?

When giraffes are awake, they seem to spend a lot of time standing around and doing little things such as pacing and nudging each other. They also roam around the park and look for food. In the evening they eat, then lie down in the dark and go to sleep. They spend most of the night in a deep sleep.

Giraffe socializing

Not all giraffes live in the wild. But those that do live in Tanzania, which is where most of these amazing photos come from. Many of these giraffes live in zoos, where they are called giraffes. But many people don’t know that giraffes are actually social creatures that like to hang out with other giraffes.

And they have specific ways in which they decide who they want to hang out with. For example, when a group of giraffes meets, they will begin singing. They do this to try and determine who they want to socialize with.

And they will continue singing until they feel comfortable with the other giraffes. Of course, some social interactions are easier than others. If they are not feeling a connection, the giraffes will just ignore each other. This is also the time they sleep.


Giraffes are herbivores that thrive on eating long, slow-growing, fibrous grasses. This is where they get their name, which is derived from the French word for “long” because their legs are very long compared to their bodies.

Giraffes sleep standing up because they will fall down if they lie down, and they also are incapable of supporting their own bodies when they’re lying down. They’re capable of rotating their necks 360 degrees, so they can see everything in front of them and watch over their young.

They’re nocturnal animals, so they usually wake up around dusk. This is because they would be vulnerable while their night vision was weak. Giraffe Facts: How big is a giraffe? Giraffes can reach a height of up to 21 feet.


Giraffes are loners at the best of times, and even in the wild have no reason to interact with other giraffes. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and there are many instances in which giraffes groom each other.

At night, in their African home ranges, adult male giraffes are prone to sleep upright while females and younger males sleep on their sides. Some authorities suggest that giraffes, along with elephants, are the only animals that sleep standing up.

The sleep position makes it much easier for them to digest their food while simultaneously eating. Frequently, giraffes doze while laying down, as this allows them to sleep better. However, they do it by switching to the side and kicking out with their feet.


Rangifer tarandus, the giraffe is the third longest land mammal, with males averaging 1.3 m (4.7 ft) tall and 1.6 m (5.1 ft) long, while females average 1.5 m (5.9 ft) tall and 1.8 m (5.9 ft) long. Giraffes are critically endangered in the wild and their populations have declined by 70% in the past 30 years.

While most of us can’t read the signs of a giraffe heading into a feeding area, we can learn a lot about giraffes from watching them, from their diets and body size to their vocalisations and gestation periods. Even knowing these things will help us in our attempts to understand them better.

So, feel free to share this article with anyone you think may find it useful, either to learn more about giraffes or to get to know them a little better.

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Hello, my name is Vicky, I am a blogger and a mom of one beautiful daughter. I love travelling and most important of all, I love getting good quality sleep. I am in the hunt everyday for information that will improve the quality of sleep, and would love to share with you. Cheers!

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