Extreme Nappers

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Many bird species tend to take short naps throughout the day, sometimes lasting around 10 seconds at a time.

But one species of penguin in the Southern Ocean takes napping to a whole other level, taking thousands of naps a day, according to New Scientist.

Recently, a research team studied the sleeping patterns of chinstrap penguins during nesting season, attaching sensors to 14 of the birds and remotely monitored their brain activity for 11 days.

During this period, the males incubate their eggs while their partners go on long foraging trips – sometimes for days. This means that the father penguins must remain awake and alert to protect their eggs from preying seabirds.

Their findings showed that flightless birds are extreme power nappers: They slept for about 11 hours a day, taking more than 10,000 naps – each lasting roughly four seconds.

These microsleeps were spread out over 24 hours and allowed them to keep a close eye on their unhatched offspring.

“It’s just a permanent state – they are constantly living between awake and sleep,” said co-author Paul-Antoine Libourel.

Libourel and his colleagues added that the avian species don’t seem to be missing out on the benefits of longer rest, because of their success rate in breeding and foraging.

Still, other researchers said that further study is needed to tell whether this fragmented sleep comes at a cost.

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