Do any other animals get insomnia?


Other animals display insomnia-like behaviour. For example, in a seminal study it was found that when male rats were rehomed from their individual cages into those of other male rats, they displayed what resembled stress-induced insomnia. Furthermore, ‘insomnia-like flies’ take longer than others to fall asleep and maintain sleep to a lesser extent.

Despite this, the authors of an excellent review of animal models of sleep disorders noted that insomnia involves an inability to sleep – however, it is not clear whether these animals are attempting and failing to sleep. Additionally, insomnia involves a subjective component (best assessed by asking someone about their sleep) which creates obvious challenges when it is considered in non-human animals.

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Asked by: Jenny Edwards, via email

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