Flies sleep: how do they sleep?


Like all living things, flies need sleep. But the question is: when and above all, how do they sleep? We enlighten you on the question to shine among your colleagues with useless, rather useful, knowledge! Decryption.

Do flies sleep?

Eh yes ! Flies are living beings and therefore need to sleep to regenerate. Like all insects, a certain number of hours of sleep are necessary to ensure flies’ vital processes, such as feeding, but also their reproduction. In the larval state, the young have a longer sleep time than the adult individuals.

These flying insects logically consume a lot of energy and even if their food can counterbalance energy consumption, it is sleep that is the most restorative. This is why they take a few naps during the day or rest between their multiple flights. However, as with us, it is nighttime sleep that will be most beneficial.

How long flies sleep depends on the species, but it appears that they can sleep for several hours at a time. They are also insects practicing diapause, allowing them to enter a deep and restorative sleep for a few weeks to several months, especially in winter. It is a time of year when they “hibernate” looking for sheltered and warm places, such as houses, but also attics or cracks to wait for spring and come out to fly.

Where do flies sleep?

You will certainly have already noticed that flies live during the day. Once you turn off the lights, the buzzing of their wings stops. Thus, as soon as the sun sets, they slow down their activity to go into a resting phase. Being the prey of many predators, they need to be away from all danger to sleep peacefully. This is why it is very rare to be able to observe a fly sleeping! Moreover, very few studies exist on the subject.

In fact, they generally hide and sleep in corners or places inaccessible to their predators. Some will choose tree trunks, under leaves, in crevices or even in houses! But in this case, they can also easily feel safe and doze off on a curtain, a lamp or any other element, even visible. That said, they will always choose a solid support, from which they can quickly fly away in the event of danger.

They also need an adequate temperature to sleep since the fly does not like coolness. Moreover, when temperatures drop, flies become more “weak”. In other words, their refuge must be tempered between 20 and 30 degrees depending on where they are on the globe.

How do flies sleep?

Being isolated animals, few studies have been done to know for sure how flies sleep. However, scientists are unanimous: their eyes are open, since they lack eyelids. Their antennae also relax, a sign that they are sinking into a form of rest.

Researchers in Queensland have looked into how flies sleep. Led by Bruno Van Swinderen, this study showed that the sleep cycle of these flying insects resembled that of humans. It is made up of two phases: light sleep and deep sleep. Scientists were also able to determine that certain energizing chemicals such as caffeine or even drugs had an exciting effect on flies, preventing them from sleeping. Conversely, alcohol or sleeping pills make them sink. Likewise, in high temperatures, flies will need more rest time than in a temperate climate.

Interesting fact: if flies cannot or have not had enough sleep during the night, they resort to sleep rebound, that is, they will make up for it the next day. Indeed, sleeping is important to them. As with humans, a lack of sleep in flies will have direct effects, particularly on their memory.

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