BY : Rhiannon Nevinczenko

Lack of sleep is a common complaint among new parents. But being a parent in Antarctica is all the more challenging. You've only got a few months of summer to have and raise your kids, and everybody else (as in, 100,000 other couples) are trying to do the same thing. Not to mention the skua hovering at all times, looking for any opportunity to snag your eggs or chicks.
You are a chinstrap penguin parent. How and when are you going to get any shuteye amidst all that chaos?
Chinstrap penguins are among nature's most innovative sleepers, alongside dolphins, whales, and long-distance seabirds. Dolphins catch their Zs one hemisphere of the brain at a time, allowing them to continue being active but still get their rest. Similarly, researchers have discovered that chinstrap penguins can also take half-brain naps (though not every nap is a half-brain nap). What's more, they get a total of nearly 11 hours of sleep in the form of 4-second micronaps that occur throughout the day (over 600 an hour). This way, they can continually protect their babies from danger and still get enough sleep.
Humans can also take microsleeps, falling asleep for a few seconds only. However, in our case, microsleeps help survive intense sleep deprivation, and cannot be an ongoing way of life. (They present a distinct danger on roadways, as well!)
Photo credit: Username uncorrectedproofs via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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