Do Cockroaches Sleep & When Are They Active?

When cockroaches are in your home, it may seem like you can never escape them. You’ve probably caught a wandering roach more than once, after a late night out or on your way to the kitchen for a midnight snack. Do cockroaches sleep, or are they always creeping around your home when you aren’t there to witness them? You might be surprised to find out that, like humans, cockroaches also follow a circadian rhythm.

What is a circadian rhythm?

The term circadian is derived from the Latin words circa diem, which means “about a day.” Circadian rhythms are activity cycles that are about 24 hours in length and affect the behavior of different organisms. Almost all living organisms follow a circadian rhythm.

Do roaches sleep?

A handful of studies have been conducted on the activity cycles of cockroaches, attempting to answer the question, “How do roaches sleep?” These studies also make observations about when cockroaches sleep and why. The research suggests that – like other organisms – cockroaches do follow a specific circadian rhythm, which includes a resting period.

How do cockroaches sleep?

According to Professor Irene Tobler-Borbély, cockroaches have three states of activity, which are a period of locomotion, a period of limb or antennae movement but no locomotion and a period of immobility. Cockroaches are most likely to be active about four hours after dark and enter a period of immobility just afterwards. This immobility period is similar to what humans would call “sleeping.”

A previous study has even suggested that artificial illumination at night could prevent cockroaches from becoming active by interfering with their circadian rhythm. But, since humans and roaches have nearly opposite sleeping schedules, in some ways, cockroaches may be viewed as the perfect, non-meddling roommate.

Not convinced? Call Terminix® and get professional advice on how to keep roaches out of your house.