Do Worms and Earthworms Sleep? (Interesting Facts)

Worms are fascinating animals, and I always wanted to know if they sleep or not. Thus, I did some research, and here’s what I found:

Do worms and earthworms sleep? Yes, worms and earthworms do sleep, but not on a day or night schedule as mammals do. Instead, they have a sleep-like behavior, and it occurs at specific stages during development. Worms usually do this as they enter a transition stage from one to another.

Since worms always seem to be working and burrowing underground, it’s quite a wonder if they do stop and take a nap. If you also wonder about the same question, read on.

In this article, we’ll answer some of the questions related to worms and their sleeping habits.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Do worms and earthworms go to sleep?

As I said, worms and earthworms do sleep, but they don’t like other mammals and us.

Instead of going to sleep, they have a sleep-like behavior, and it occurs at specific stages of their development.

In simple terms, their sleep isn’t a simple act but a form of behavior. Further, it’s not a routine activity that they need to do once a day.

Instead, it’s more of a response to what is happening in them. For instance, worms may enter into such behavior as they transform from one stage to another.

Another factor would be a stressful event. If worms encounter something stressful, like another animal or a dangerous scene, they may need to sleep.

They would also go into such behavior if they suffer from extreme conditions, be it hot or cold. Also, they would need to sleep if they encounter any toxins.

In general, you can see it as a worm’s form of survival from stressful and dangerous events.

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Why don’t worms sleep as we do?

Worms don’t sleep as we do simply because their way of living isn’t the same as ours.

For this reason, they don’t sleep on a day or night schedule like us. It means that they don’t tend to feel sleepy and take a nap.

Moreover, they only feel the need to do so when they encounter specific stages and events in life.

As I said earlier, one instance when they need to enter a sleep-like behavior is when they change from one stage to another.

Another thing is when they encounter stressful events such as life-threatening ones.

In general, worms don’t sleep following a particular routine. They only do so when they feel the need to.

How do worms survive without sleep?

In essence, worms may not survive without sleep. While worms may not sleep like us daily, they need rest to survive amidst stressful events.

They have this kind of protein that promotes a sleep-like state. It helps them enter and take a nap to endure stressful situations.

While they don’t need sleep daily, they need rest whenever they get stressed out of a specific situation.

For worms, stress can come at any point since they are sensitive animals. For instance, they can be at risk any time of the day when they get to the surface by accident and get scorched by the sun.

Worms can also suffer if the soil suddenly gets toxins and other chemicals. Thus, while they may not sleep like us, they still need sleep to survive.

For how long worms sleep when they’re developing?

Worms can sleep for several hours long whenever they went through a stressful situation. Thus, they can also do the same whenever they’re developing.

Unlike feeling stressed, worms also need to sleep whenever they develop from one stage to another.

Such events usually happen whenever worms start to mature. Since they change from one larvae stage to another, they may need to get into their sleep-like behavior for a couple of hours.

Do worms dream?

While worms do sleep, it’s quite challenging to tell if they dream. For instance, worms don’t have eyes, so that they won’t dream in pictures.

If ever worms would dream, the dream might be more of a sensation from their other senses. For instance, it can be about soil, sounds, and the feel of the textures they sense.

Thus, it may include more like the following:

  • Enjoying rich and damp soil for miles
  • Company of other worm friends, or even mating
  • Getting dug and eaten by a bird (which can be a nightmare)
  • Getting chased, and so on

Of course, these things are all theoretical, so nothing is certain in it. Still, it can be an excellent idea for worms to dream sometimes.

Can you tell if a worm is sleeping?

Since worms don’t sleep on schedule, it can be difficult to tell if a certain one is asleep or not.

Of course, if a worm doesn’t move, it may mean it’s already dead. Moreover, these animals don’t have eyes. Thus, they can close to indicate they are asleep.

Lastly, since they don’t sleep regularly, you may find it difficult to catch one asleep.

Summary – What we know about worms and sleeping

In a nutshell, here’s what we know about worms and sleeping.

First, worms do sleep, but not like how we do. Instead of a scheduled day or night sleeping, they only sleep on certain occasions. These occasions are during a stressful event or their development stage.

Second, when worms do sleep, it can be for several hours. If it gets interrupted, they can fall asleep faster and tend to sleep longer.

Lastly, worms may dream since they also sleep, but it’s more of a dream from their sensation and not in a picture since they don’t have eyes.


Image credits – Canva

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