NEW YORK – November 2, 2017 – Siestas are key, especially in the fast-paced lives of some of the world’s most active animals. The fascinating sleeping habits of the animal kingdom hint at a complexity humans are only just beginning to unlock. From birds that take micro-naps mid-flight to dolphins who half-snooze while underwater, Smithsonian Earth examines the myriad ways animals sleep with the new animated, short-form series, THE SECRET WORLD OF ANIMAL SLEEP. Narrated by journalist and science communicator Cara Santa Maria, this new series offers a captivating glimpse into the way animals restore energy and get ready for their next day or night on the prowl – all through a series of beautiful picture-book, hand-drawn animations. The premiere episode, SLEEPLESS ON THE SAVANNA, is now available for free at SmithsonianEarthTV.com/Sleep. The five additional episodes will be available on Smithsonian Earth tomorrow, November 3rd. Smithsonian Earth is available on Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Android™ and SmithsonianEarthTV.com.
Episodes of THE SECRET WORLD OF ANIMAL SLEEP are:
SLEEPLESS ON THE SAVANNA
The higher up on the food chain you are, the more sleep you get. That’s why prey species like giraffes can only afford mere minutes of sleep at a time, while lions revel in over 20 hours of luxurious slumber a day. Take an eye-opening look at sleep as a survival strategy.
Marine mammals like dolphins need air to breathe, but what happens when they rest? The solution is a fascinating form of half-sleep that allows them to emerge for air without waking up. Dive into the weird world of underwater slumber.
ASLEEP ON THE WING
When birds need sleep, they do it on the fly – quite literally. They’re able to enter a special kind of half-sleep state that lets them rest midair, which is especially important for migratory birds, like the Alpine swift, clocking thousands of miles at a time. Glide into the astounding world of avian sleep.
SLEEPING LIKE A BABY
Owls and foxes are born with undeveloped brains. To grow, they need a special kind of deep sleep known as REM, or rapid eye movement – a state marked by brain regeneration, memory development and a lot of movement. Take an intriguing look into the role of sleep in helping different species develop into adults.
MYSTERIES OF HIBERNATION
Arctic ground squirrels survive harsh Canadian winters through skilled hibernation. Entering a state of controlled hypothermia, their body temperatures drop to 27°F – the lowest ever recorded in a mammal. This suspended animation isn’t sleep exactly, but it’s an equally vital part of their unique survival plan.
All animals sleep – but few do so in exactly the same way. Horses snooze standing up and snakes sleep with their eyes wide open. As for some species of jellyfish, they sleep despite lacking a brain. Uncover some of the more unusual features of animal slumber, many of which still remain a mystery.
Cara Santa Maria is a Los Angeles Area Emmy and Knight Foundation Award winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, producer and podcaster. She is the creator and host of a weekly science podcast called Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria and cohosts the popular Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She is a founding member of the Nerd Brigade and cofounded the annual science communication retreat #SciCommCamp.
Smithsonian Earth is a subscription streaming video service specializing in original nature and wildlife programming shot in stunning 4K Ultra HD resolution that’s available through Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Android™ and at SmithsonianEarthTV.com.
Smithsonian Networks™ is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Networks operates Smithsonian Earth, through SN Digital LLC. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Channel, the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, //twitter.com/@SmithsonianChan">Twitter, and Instagram.