Worker Ants Take Hundreds Of 1 Minute Naps Per Day

Samuel Reason | October 8th, 2018

Working as hard as an ant is a popular saying, but how do they keep going all day? Surely at some point, these worker ants need to rest to regain their energy, well not really. You see worker ants have developed a sleeping pattern that allows them to work for their queen around the clock, without stopping.

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Queen ants get to live the life of leisure, generally sleeping up to 9 hours a day. By contrast working ants have to get by with half that amount and have to power nap to keep going. This difference in sleep and rest probably explains why the queen and is able to live up to 45 years whereas working ants typically die within 6 months. The worker ants sleeping pattern also ensures that at any time, there is always enough ants to protect and defend the colony if needed.

On average the worker and will take over 250 naps per day, lasting no more than a minute. They happen at irregular times and equates to about 4 hours and 48 minutes of sleep per day. This way the colony ensures that at any time of the day 80% of their workforce is active and working. Jobs in the nest are never ignored or unattended because the workforce never stops. Unfortunately, it is just part of the deal, in an ant colony, worker ants are seen as a lower caste they are to be used as a buffer for the queen and her royal offspring from exposure, starvation, and predators.

Queens still do sleep by napping however they only take about 90 naps per day, and they last about 6 minutes. They also enjoy deeper sleep, like humans, it is believed they enter a REM state (rapid eye movement) and therefore have dreams.

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