October 2018 by V. R. Duin


This ray hunts at night
And spends days with friends.
It works out all right
That fish never sleep.

Although fish never sleep, peaceful and restful fish help people wind down to catch ZZZs, escape stress and avoid bedtime anxiety with accompanying ills of sleep deprivation.

Little Ray's friends often ask: Do Fish Sleep? Behavior, habits and position show fish remain half-awake. EEG equipment is used to record electrical activity of the brain and determine percentages of time asleep and awake.

“Eyes wide open” applies to fish. Sharks have eyelids. Two of them are fixed and do not close. A clear nicitating membrane rises behind the lower lid of some sharks for protection while they are attacking.

Other fish have no eyelids. Like crustaceans, insects, snakes and spiders, their eyes remain open. Bullfrogs have three eyelids to moisten, clean and camouflage their eyes. They hibernate rather than regularly sleep.

According to Pizard's GURPS Miscellanea, The Basking Shark may hibernate. Cave resting spots have less salt and more oxygen. Sharks may move into caves for the oxygen high of recreational oxygen bars.

Fish breathe with water flowing over gills. Resting sharks work to breathe. Some inactive sharks pump water from their mouths to gills. Other sharks and rays draw in water with spiracles, external respiratory openings.

Spiracles aid bottom dwellers. Their mouths are under their bodies. Were they to breathe through their mouths, like sharks and mantas, they would suck in sand and other grit from the ocean floor. This would impede rest.

Spiders and insects have spiracles. They are called “blow holes” on the heads of whales and dolphins. They also assist the breathing of stationary rays, except mantas. In manta rays the spiracles are nonfunctional.

Sleep is regulated naturally by a circadian biological clock. Sleepiness, wakefulness, hunger and other day and night functions largely track light and darkness. Environmental and genetic factors affect patterns.

Sleep patterns and needs differ widely among people and animals. Rest and relaxation improve productivity, memory and health. Fish do not rely on unnatural scents and flavorings for their relaxing wind-down experience.

Sleep tracking tools may worsen sleep hygiene. Data on noise, movement, amount of deep sleep, sleep debt percentages, sleep rhythms and disruptions from wearable or nearby devices may be inaccurate and disturbing.

Efforts to perfect goals may produce unhealthy obsessions. Checking or bumping into apps or devices in bed is unlikely to improve slumber. Sleep tech may improve awareness of regular behavioral patterns.

The JCSM presents an abstract about risks the of Orthosomnia: Are Some Patients Taking the Quantified Self too Far? Orthosomnia is an unhealthy preoccupation with wearable data for self-diagnosis and sleep perfection.

Physiology determines sleep-wake homeostasis. A biochemical system drives the need for and the intensity of sleep. Cycles may be polyphasic (multiple), monophasic (singular) or biphasic (split into two periods).

Animal resting cycles are typically polyphasic. Humans are split. Some people are monophasic in nature, sleeping only once over a 24-hour period. Others have biphasic schedules of two sleep periods within that time frame.

Fish deprived of rest may rebound. This increase of rest to offset deficiencies is common after periods of deprivation or disruption. Storms, migrations, mating and parental activities may interfere with regular habits.

Diurnal, nocturnal and crepuscular examples: Diurnal round stingrays are most active in daytime, nocturnal Manta Rays are most active at night, and crepuscular Great White Sharks tend to pick up speed at dawn or dusk.

Don't let your guard down. During sluggish periods, sharks are aware of their surroundings and alert to potential feeding opportunities. Sharks and rays can respond 24/7 to exterminate or ward off any perceived threats.

Some fish seek safe resting spots. While removed from active swimming and hunting activities, they may hide under rocks, behind plants or in nests of sand. Others use group protection with guards overseeing those at rest.

Resting fish are less responsive to outside stimulus. Species that lie at rest or suspend in water may assume motionless positions. Constant swimmers may relax with protective schools, calm waters and repetitive movements.

Helpful fish join rays and sharks for mutual benefit. Remoras, also called “sucker-fish”, clean parasites from them. Pilot fish swim alongside, feeding on parasites and dropped food. Sharks and rays proffer safety.

Aquariums are conducive to sleep. An aquarium is a good substitute for those who cannot escape to the beach. Fish do not need the living space or care of other pets. They give relaxing lessons about life in water.

Water is fluid and flowing. It circulates, cushions, lubricates, maintains, purifies, renews, saturates, sustains, transforms and transports. This transparent and odorless liquid is critical for all life forms on earth.

Fish are quiet. Stingrays and sharks are considered active. Associated with powerful movement, these cartilaginous beings connect us to the water element and offer calming sleep alternatives shared with bony cousins.

Fish tanks fit any decor, arrangement, space or location. According to Aquarium Adviser, The Benefits of a fish tank at home are health, wealth and luck. Chinese Feng Shui metaphysics harmonize people with surroundings.

Fish motion is therapeutic. These social creatures listen and respond to outside attention 24/7. Hyperactive children and tense or insomniac adults may decompress with the hypnotic, sleep-inducing serenity of fish.

Fish are disciplined, tireless, serene and instinctive. Watching their movements may reduce anxiety, stress, blood pressure and heart rate. Productivity, concentration, motivation, positivity and focus may improve.

The beauty and tranquil sounds of ocean life offer peace. Calming sounds and images of the aquatic world provide a soothing escape for healthy living. Little Ray is available for friends, days and nights.

It is not necessary to wait until lights out. There is no need to belly up to possible risks of an oxygen bar. Little Ray's fish stories have no toxic side effects. There is no worry of allergic reactions or complications.

The desire to learn more about stingrays and sharks may become “addictive”. The video is free of dangers. It's theme is not from any Little Ray book. Readers may recognize the illustrations.

The video text: “We will not count sheep. They might fall to sleep. We will count stingrays. They're up nights and days.” (21 seconds).