How do cows sleep

Rumors persist that cows are animals that sleep standing up and can be easily pushed around in this position . What is this claim and is it true?

In this article you will learn how cows sleep.

To get rid of the rumor that cows sleep standing up and are easy to push around in this way, I unfortunately have to disappoint you. If you were already on the way to the pasture and wanted to observe this phenomenon yourself, you will not be able to confirm this.

Cows do not sleep standing up , but rather lying down as a rule. To do this, assume a lying position in which you can either stretch your front feet or leave them close to your body.

So it is not possible to push cows standing up that are supposedly asleep or are dozing off. Cows are far too heavy and resilient. At best, they would just stand there, unimpressed. However, if they feel provoked, cows can also become aggressive and want to drive you away.


The basic idea is that cows have a relatively high center of gravity. In comparison, the legs appear thin and hardly seem to be able to support the heavy weight. Due to the small width of the stand, it should seem logical if cows can be pushed over with ease.

A prerequisite was that cows had to sleep standing or at least rest for this. Because only if the cows were inattentive, they would no longer be able to balance the force and would fall to the side.

The origin of this myth is unclear. But it can be found in all parts of the world and is mainly told by rural residents who want to make fun of townspeople with it. Not knowing how heavy a cow actually is, city dwellers would believe that a cow should be pushed over.

However, this cannot succeed. A fully grown cow can weigh up to 700 kilograms. Just imagine trying to knock over a wooden object weighing 700 kilograms. With a static object this may still work if you are strong enough. However, a cow is always on the move while standing and will find her balance without any problems so as not to be knocked over.

So pushing a cow is just a funny story that ignorant city dwellers like to tell . It is therefore not possible to push a cow standing up.


But how do cows actually sleep now and do they actually relax while standing?

This is where the whole myth breaks in. Because cows do not sleep standing up and prefer to rest while lying down. If cows are standing, they do so to graze in the pasture. Because cows only have two activities during the long day.

Eat and sleep.

Cows sleep around 7 to 12 hours throughout the day. So you can spend almost half the day just sleeping. However, the cows’ sleep behavior cannot be compared with that of humans.

The duration of sleep is spread over several periods of rest. The cows rest over about 5 to 10 resting periods, each of which can be 1 to 1 1/2 hours long. The need for sleep in bulls and calves is different. They can sleep up to 13 hours.

The deep sleep is also distributed over the individual sleep periods. It amounts to a total of about 30 minutes a day and is spread over 6 to 10 lying periods. How the cows sleep depends on individual preferences. For this, some cattle lay their heads on their stomachs and adopt a star-shaped posture.

The main purpose of dairy cows is to provide high performance and produce many liters of milk. Since cows are ruminants, sleep is very important to them. Lack of sleep or poor quality would result in lower milk production.

In order to ensure a sufficiently high quality of sleep, cubicles are used that allow the cow to lie down comfortably. In the organic farming also litter is used to enable a more comfortable sleeping position.

This allows cows to take their desired sleeping position and get a sufficient amount of sleep.


In contrast to what the rural population often portrays, cows do not sleep standing up and it is also not possible to push them around with ease. You are far too heavy and alert to get on your knees after a little nudge.

Instead , cows prefer to sleep in a lying position. In contrast to  humans , however, sleep is distributed over some sleep segments. They only rest for a maximum of 1 1/2 hours at a time and go into deep sleep for about 30 minutes throughout the day.

This should answer the question of how cows sleep and dispel the myth that cows are easy to move.

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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