October 2020 by Terry Verduin


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, avoid bedtime anxiety and ward off sleep-deprivation ills.


Blast Shield? “Eyes wide open” applies to fish. Sharks have eyelids. Two of them are fixed. They do not close. A clear nicitating membrane rises behind the lower lid of some sharks for eye protection during attacks.

Fine Focus? Other fish have no eyelids. Like crustaceans, insects, snakes and spiders, their eyes stay open. Bullfrogs have three eyelids to moisten, clean and camouflage their eyes. They hibernate instead of sleep.

Weird Sleep Quirk? The National Sleep Foundation estimates that about 20% of people have nocturnal lagophthalmos, which means they sleep with their eyes open. This causes damaging dry eye symptoms.

Slow Down

The Big Sleep? Hibernation is not restorative sleep. It is a long-term state of winter inactivity. The heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rate decrease to save energy. After hibernation, sleep may be needed.

Perfect Getaway? According to Pizard's GURPS Miscellanea, Basking Sharks may hibernate. Cave resting spots have less salt and more oxygen. Like recreational oxygen bars, caves may produce an oxygen high.

Survival Sleep? Torpor is prolonged sluggishness resulting from short-term physiological changes in body temperature, metabolism, and water balance. Estivation is summer inactivity for survival of hot, dry periods.

Speed Up

Rain Dates? While at rest, reactions may be sluggish. Protective schools, calm waters and repetitive movements may relax constant swimmers. Mama Ray describes trance-like tonic immobility, or “hypnosis”.

Rebound Sleep? This increase in rest helps people and some animals offset deficits. It is common after long sleepless periods. Storms, migrations, mating and parental activities interfere with regular sleep.

Dream On? Scientists do not know if animals dream or if they are capable of drifting into day dreams. It is possible that studying animals' sleep patterns and habits may prove beneficial for humans with sleep disorders.


Do Fish Sleep? According to NOAA, fish behavior, habits and position show they remain half-awake. EEG equipment records electrical brain activity to calculate the percentages of time spent asleep and awake.

Animals Needing Little Sleep? Some aquatic mammals and birds have unihemispheric sleep. Staying half-awake allows them to keep moving. Giraffes, elephants, deer and ostriches can function without sleep.

Moisture Wrap? Lungfish can hibernate for multiple years. During droughts, they burrow into the mud, then secrete mucus to retain moisture. Goldfish in frozen, outdoor ponds hibernate to survive winters.

Sleep Apnea

Sleeping Disorder? Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in humans. Breathing stops and starts during sleep. With accompanying heart or lung problems, it may be classified as a physical disability.

Yawn? Fish yawn, cough and burp. To sneeze requires lungs and nasal passages. The lungfish has lungs, but it has closed nasal passages called “Choanae”. Sneezing cannot clear irritants, so fish do not sneeze.

Flower Power? Sleep and rest benefit people and animals. Rest and relaxation improve productivity, memory and health. Fish do not need unnatural scents or flavorings for a wind-down experience.

Sleep Machines

Substitutes? Associated with powerful maneuvers, stingrays and sharks are active. However, these cartilaginous beings connect with the water element. They share the restful sleep alternatives of their bony cousins.

Perpetual? Most fish breathe with water flowing over gills. While inactive, some sharks pump water by mouth to their gills. Other sharks and rays oxygenate with spiracles, external respiratory openings.

Quality Control? Were they to breathe through the mouths under their heads, bottom fish would suck sand and grit from the ocean floor. Spiracles aid resting bottom dwellers, not deep-water mantas or sharks.

Bedtime Anxiety

Dopamine High? Sleep-enhancing efforts can lead to unhealthy obsessions. Checking or bumping into monitoring apps or hardware interrupts slumber. Sleep tech may heighten awareness of regular behavioral patterns.

Takeaway? Feedback and measurements of noise, movement, deep sleep spans or deficit percentages can be inaccurate. Disruptions from wearable or nearby devices may worsen sleep hygiene and impair data.

Everything Clicks? The JCSM presents an abstract about Orthosomnia: Are Some Patients Taking the Quantified Self too Far? This focus on wearable self-diagnosis tools for sleep perfection can disrupt the calm.

Sleep Physiology

Super Natural? Sleep is regulated naturally by a circadian biological clock. Sleepiness, wakefulness, hunger and other day or night functions track light and darkness. Environmental and genetic factors may play roles.

Lunar Cycle? Physiology determines sleep-wake homeostasis, or the individual balance of sleep needs and intensity. Rhythms are polyphasic (multiple), monophasic (singular) or biphasic (two periods).

Mapped Out? Animal resting cycles typically are polyphasic. Humans are split. Monophasic people sleep once within a 24-hour period. Others follow biphasic schedules with two regular sleep periods over this time.

Resting Places

Safe Resting Spots? While removed from active swimming and hunting, some fish hide under rocks, behind plants or within sandy ocean banks or bottoms. Others use group safety; guards oversee those at rest.

Bright Line? Common water pets, Dory fish, rest on their sides. Damsels make cocoons for resting. Nocturnal fish need more hiding places than diurnal ones. They are a good fit for biotope-themed aquariums.

Sticking Power? Spines are present on many fishes' dorsal, pectoral, anal and pelvic fins. These provide protection. Some fish use their fin spines to brace themselves within crevices. Predators cannot pull them out.


Don't Let Your Guard Down. During sluggish periods, fish watch their surroundings, remaining alert for opportunities or problems. Sharks and rays respond to escape, ward off or exterminate perceived threats.

A Misnomer? The Japanese Sleeper Ray disappears under the sand. This little electric ray lies in ready wait. Should something or someone interrupt its peaceful moment, it is prepared to pack a powerful punch.

Contemplate Life Patterns? Diurnal round stingrays become active in daytime. Nocturnal Manta Rays power up at night. Crepuscular Great White Sharks tend to gain momentum during dawn or dusk hours.

Fish Help People

Island Time? Aquariums are helpful to sleep. They make good substitutes for beach getaways. Fish do not need the living space or care of most pets. A mix-and-match variety gives easy lessons about life in water.

Pastel Play? According to Aquarium Adviser, The Benefits of a fish tank at home are health, wealth and luck. Like Chinese Feng Shui, fish bring harmony into homes with their color, arrangement and location.

Therapeutic Fish? These quiet creatures respond to outside attention 24/7. Hyperactive children and tense or insomniac adults may decompress with the hypnotic, sleep-inducing gracefulness of fish motion.

Escape Stress

Drawing Inspiration? Fish are disciplined, tireless, serene and instinctive. Their movements may reduce anxiety, stress, blood pressure and heart rate. Productivity, motivation, positivity and focus may improve.

Take Me to Your Leader! Why wait until lights out, take pills or belly up to possible risks in oxygen bars. Little Ray's activities have no toxic side effects. There is no worry of allergic reactions or complications.

Synaesthesia? Rare people have unusual senses; i.e., seeing sounds, tasting colors or smelling textures. Fish have acute sense levels and senses humans do not share. It is hard to know what they experience.

Healthy Sleep

Natural Sleep? Sleep is a naturally recurring state of altered consciousness. It is restorative of mind and body. Awakening may end sleep or allow for adjustments and surveillance before falling back to sleep.

Natural Sleep Aids? Folks with insomnia may become addicted to sleep medications. Natural sleep-promoting supplements, breathing exercises and other alternatives may not work for everyone at all times.

Stoned Fish? Fish do not feel weed's psychoactive effects, per Lebanon Aquaculture Researchers in Effect of cannabis oil on growth performance, hematology and metabolism of Nile Tilapia Oreochromis Niloticus.

Strong, Quiet Types?

Net Worth? Waves, wind, and other natural sounds mask sleep-disruptive noise, which helps some people relax and fall asleep. Sleep-inducing sounds are known as noise sleep aids, because they promote better sleep.

Family Knows Best? A grandmother reported reading The Amazing Flight of Little Ray to her autistic grandson at bedtime. When she returned to check on him, this new friend was off the bookshelf sweetening dreams.

Ray's the Game? Rhyming matters. An elementary school teacher discovered a classroom reading aloud of The Amazing Flight of Little Ray elicited the first-ever verbal response from a special needs student.

Peaceful & Restful Fish

Beauty and the Elements? Calming sounds and rainbows of hues in the laid-back, aquatic world offer a soothing break for healthy living. The video below has a tranquil meditation mantra for friends, days and nights.

Naturally Sunny? Desire to learn about stingrays and sharks may become “addictive”. The video is danger-free. The theme is not from a Little Ray book. Readers recognize illustrations from his tales of the deep.

VA-VA-VOOM Service? The transcript for Little Ray's video below reads as follows: “We will not count sheep. They might fall to sleep. We will count stingrays. They're up nights and days.” (21 seconds)