How Do Hummingbirds Sleep? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Hummingbirds spend their nights in a safe haven, where they can rest their delicate feet on a limb and then drift off to sleep.

Some of them engage in a sleep method known as Torpor, which allows them to conserve 85% of their energy.

As the night grows colder, they accomplish this by essentially shutting down most of their biological functions and letting their body cool off.

How Do Hummingbirds Sleep?

How Do Hummingbirds Sleep

Instead of slumbering in the morning, Hummingbirds go into Torpor, a state similar to hibernation that allows hummingbirds to conserve energy by reducing their metabolism, heartbeat, and respiration rate at night while perched upside-down on a limb.

Hummingbirds use this strategy to stay warm at night.

Torpor causes a significant reduction in biological processes and a sharp drop in body temperature.

At night, hummingbirds go into Torpor since they can no longer feed and it’s cold outside, so they need the rest.

Hibernation and Torpor are not the same things.

Torpor is a daily nocturnal state of consciousness (occurs at night). Torpor is more common at night, but it can sometimes occur during the day.

They’ll usually slumber on a familiar branch of a tree or bush that’s out of the way.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on how do hummingbirds mate

Why Do Hummingbirds Sleep Upside Down?

Hummingbirds only hang upside down when they are asleep.

At this point, they enter a hibernation-like state called Torpor.

This is a very deep sleep, I can tell you that much. As a result, their metabolism will be reduced to a fraction of what it normally is. 

Their heart rate drops to around 50 beats per minute.

Their breathing will become increasingly shallow until it appears as though they have stopped breathing completely.

Hummingbirds can save up to 60% of their available energy by napping like this.

A hummingbird will build a nest in a safe perching spot.

Hummingbird mothers will sit on their nests when they have babies who can’t take care of themselves.

As soon as they’re comfortable, they’ll recline their necks and lean forward with their heads held high.

They will fluff their feathers and cockeyed their beak making them appear like cotton balls.

So if you come across a hummingbird hanging upside down, it’s probably asleep.

Do Hummingbirds Sleep Every Night?

Hummingbirds do sleep every night. The hummingbird’s entire body requires energy.

Therefore it needs a restful night’s sleep to replenish its reserves.

Because they expend so much energy during the day and need to be fed frequently, they are unable to sleep during this period.

They eat all day long, from sunrise to sunset. However, they start looking for a place to spend the night about 30 minutes before sundown.

As a result of their fast metabolism, they must often feed during the day, but at night and in the cold, they can reduce their feeding frequency and, therefore, their energy consumption. 

One exception to this rule is when hummers are found in locations with lots of artificial lighting, such as a garden or porch light, in which case they will continue feeding well into the night.

This is only possible in warmer temperatures, as they’ll go into a coma or Torpor to keep warm during the cold period.

Or during migration, some hummers, such as the RubyThroated Hummingbird, even fly over the Mexican Gulf.

Unfortunately, there is no place for the hummers to take a break on this flight, which takes roughly 20 hours to complete.

They must fly all at once in order to avoid falling asleep throughout the flight.

During their trip, fishers and oil workers have seen hummingbirds soaring low over the ocean at night while on the job.

So they’ll have a well-deserved feed and rest when they get to the other side.

Also check out this article I wrote on are hummingbirds pollinators

Do Hummingbirds Sleep With Eyes Open?

Hummingbirds go into Torpor with their eyes closed.

Hummingbirds that appear to be sleeping yet have their eyes open are not necessarily dormant.

It’s also possible that you’re waking up from a deep sleep.

How Long Does A Hummingbird Sleep?

Hummingbirds sleep for a long time because they go into a state of Torpor from dusk until dawn.

That means a hummingbird’s torpor period can last anywhere between 8 and 16 hours.

Obviously, this will be affected by the time of year. Every night, the average bird spends about 12 hours in a deep sleep.

The hummingbird’s hormones are set off when sunshine is present (corticosterone). As a result, they slowly begin to emerge from their slumber.

It can take them about 20 to 60 minutes to get out of Torpor.

A hummingbird’s torpor period is affected by a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Species type and size
  • Territorial defense (typically by dominant males)
  • Evasion of predators
  • Bad weather 
  • Scarcity of food

Do Hummingbirds Sleep In the Same Place Every Night?

Yes. Hummingbirds will return night after night to the same safe haven until they migrate.

Hummingbirds have a strong sense of self-preservation.

A suitable sleeping place will almost always be free of predators and near a plentiful food supply.

Hummingbirds require both of these things to survive.

How Much Do Hummingbirds Sleep?

In order to save energy, hummingbirds sleep from sunset till sunrise.

Then, as the sun sets, they begin to relax and wind down in preparation for a good night’s sleep.

A secure perch is what they’re after. They will sleep anywhere as long as it is safe, which is usually a branch of some type.

Do Hummingbirds Eat At Night

Hummingbirds don’t feed at night and are active throughout the day.

Early in the morning is when they like to eat the most, and then again, shortly before bedtime, they eat the least.

Although they are fed continuously throughout the day, these are the prime feeding times for them.

People have reported seeing hummingbirds feeding in the dead of night, but this is more common in the spring and summer.

If you have your outdoor lights on, you might catch a glimpse of a lone hummingbird.

In addition to nectar, Hummingbirds feed heavily on insects, which are a good source of nutrition for the diminutive birds.

So, if you see a hummer buzzing about at night, it may be snatching up whatever insects it comes across.

Hummingbirds are only active at night when they are migrating, which happens just once a year.


Hummingbirds do sleep, but it’s a deep slumber known as Torpor in which they conserve energy.

As a result, their bodily functions, such as heart rate, body temperature, and breathing, are reduced to a whisper.

As a result of this behavior, they have more energy to spend on nectar-hunting during the day.

Hummingbirds sleep in tree branches from dusk until dawn, hiding from predators.

Hummingbird sleep is primarily concerned with ensuring its own survival.

Photo of author

About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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