It stands to reason that zombies must decay at a considerably slower rate than humans if they are to represent a credible threat to civilization.  Now, ZRS Researcher Dave Cogan offers one compelling theory of how this longevity might be accomplished: Sleep.

Cogan sites a groundbreaking sleep experiment from the University of Chicago proving that after 30 days of total sleep deprivation, a seemingly healthy rat will drop dead. In fact, all complex animated creatures – humans, rats, sheep, cockroaches – need some form of regular sleep cycle to stay alive.

Sleeping Zombie

Sleeping Zombie

He goes on to suggest that zombies could slow their cellular breakdown by mimicking the survival techniques of the living.  However, Cogan notes that this doesn’t necessarily mean a traditional, tucked-in-bed, eight hour recharge for our undead friends:

“Think of it as the standby mode on your computer.  It hasn’t shut down completely, but rather is in a holding pattern, allowing the machine to last longer and run more efficiently when booted back up.  Many insects and fish species act similarly, and so too may zombies.”

So the next time you spot a zombie milling about aimlessly, don’t just assume its too stupid or slow to do anything else.  Maybe its just recharging so it can be refreshed and ready when the next tasty meal happens by.

Food for thought.


  1. In a lot of zombie movies and series (such as Walking Dead) it is suggested that zombies are more active at night. Maybe they’re similar to nocturnal creatures. They can be found hunting during day, but maybe the sunlight makes them sleepy.

  2. ‘Food for thought’. Hah. I get it!

    Good to know, though. I had a suspicion they might “sleep” but wasn’t sure since I don’t stick around long enough to find out.

  3. Zombies appear to “sleep” in the 2004 Irish film directed by Conor McMahon, “Dead Meat.” In fact, it’s such a deep sleep that the living are able to zig zag through a crowd of zombies standing in a field without fear of attack.

  4. You can sort of see this play out in The Walking Dead where you often see zombies resting in places like parked cars

    • Very true! Or like the walker that seemed to be dead, but grabbed Herschel as he walked over him. The zombies do seem to “sleep” at times. Or maybe they just rest from extreme boredom.

  5. What if zombies are in a constant sleepwalking state?

    I wonder if one got a knife between the hemispheres they would be able to sleep like dolphins half a brain at time

  6. I think that if zed’s have a certain time that they “sleep”, it would be the perfect Zed hunting time. Like the way most humans sleep at night. What would be unfortunate is if a zed would periodically “sleep” according to when they were first created. If that were the case, then we would have thousands of zeds that would sleep at different times. In a sense, they would be unintentionally taking shifts…

    • Well, if zombies follow a rudimentary “hive mind” system, which may or may not be confirmed based off of their moan attracting all other zombies in the area, then it makes sense that they may all sleep at the same time when they are not in action.

  7. What would happen if you gave a zombie sedatives??? Could shoot up a turkey from Spacepope’s farm and feed it to a zombie and see what happens. lol

  8. so all we have to do is feed the zombies Thanks giving dinner and play soft music and we will make it through the apocalypse. This is a great plan. now I just need to become a turkey rancher.

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