American Oceans
where green sea turtles sleep

Where do Green Sea Turtles Sleep?

Just like human beings and other living creatures, the green sea turtle needs sleep to perform daily life functions.

Green sea turtles have a pretty simple pattern which they follow every day: a repeating cycle of feeding and resting.

green sea turtle sleep

Where Do Green Sea Turtles Sleep?

When it’s time to rest, green sea turtles have many options. 

In the water, they can sleep on the surface of deep water, at the bottom of the ocean nestled between some rocks. 

Green sea turtles have even been found sleeping under coral reefs.

Because green sea turtles spend most of their lives underwater and are quite solitary, the species has found many places to utilize for sleeping purposes.

How Much Do Green Sea Turtles Sleep?

Green sea turtles sleep for long durations of time throughout the day.

In fact, studies conducted on habits of green sea turtles indicate that they rest for approximately 11 hours a day. That’s nearly half of their daily routine!

Green sea turtles will also change their sleeping habits depending on the pattern of daylight present and where they’re situated.

For example, if a green sea turtle is lounging in shallow water (as is common practice for the species), the sunlight that reflects on the water will actually induce a sleeping period. 

This is likely a mechanism meant to conserve energy, but sunlight does affect how much sleep a green sea turtle will get in a day.

Typically, however, a green sea turtle will migrate to deeper waters by nightfall and thus a deeper sleep.

Sleep is also vital to a green sea turtle’s ability to mate, as being without sufficient energy reserves means an inability to reproduce, which could have detrimental effects on the long term survival of the species.

Considering that the species is currently in an endangered state, the need for sleep and proper energy among green sea turtles could not be more critical.

green sea turtle sleeping

Can a Green Sea Turtle Sleep on Land?

Green sea turtles are often found sleeping underwater. 

That said, land is of great importance to a green sea turtle, especially during mating and egg-laying season.

These two phenomena, both of which occur during the spring and summer months, are critical for the survival of the green sea turtle species.

During this time, green sea turtles lay their eggs on sand along a beach and wait for their hatchlings to break from their shells and crawl back into the water.

Green sea turtles do need oxygen to survive, but can obtain it merely by poking its head out of water for a few seconds, giving the turtle a reserve of oxygen that can last for hours at a time.

For fear of predators and other ancillary threats, green sea turtles primarily sleep underwater instead of on land.

Green Sea Turtle Sleep Habits: Final Thoughts

The green sea turtle sure knows how to sleep, and for good reason! Their survival depends on it.

Whether deep in the ocean, on the water’s surface or simply sheltered under a rock or coral reef, green sea turtles can adapt to nearly any setting underwater for sleep when the sun goes down.

Sleeping enables green sea turtles to mate and conserve all-important energy for their migrations and their ability to lay eggs during the warmer months. To learn more about Green Sea Turtles visit our Fact & Information Guide.

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