Do Cockroaches Sleep?

Do-cockroaches-sleepCockroaches are a group of insects with an excellent ability to adapt and survive. They can easily thrive and reproduce anywhere with sufficient water and food supply. But do cockroaches sleep like normal living things?

Yes, they do! But unlike humans, their sleeping pattern is a little different. Science tells us that these bugs are nocturnal, meaning they come out of their hiding places at night searching for food and water.

So when do roaches sleep? How much do they sleep? Can they sleep anywhere, or is there a special place for them to rest?

This article answers all these questions related to cockroaches’ sleeping patterns. So let’s get started!

Can Roaches Sleep?

Every living creature needs sleep to function properly. Cockroaches also sleep. But, unlike humans, the bugs are active at night. So, when do they sleep? To answer this question, we first need to understand the sleeping cycle in living beings called the circadian rhythm.

Circadian Rhythm

Every living thing has a circadian rhythm, a cycle that signals the body to perform a specific thing during a particular period of the day.

Thanks to the circadian rhythm, we feel active during the day and get drowsy when the night settles in. Our sleeping hormones start secreting during the nighttime, telling our body that it is now time to rest.

Similar to humans, cockroaches also have their circadian rhythm. However, their circadian rhythm is quite the opposite of ours.

Circadian Rhythm in Cockroaches

A circadian rhythm is an inactive-active pattern that switches between an organism’s sleep and wake periods. It is a 24-hour cycle.

During the active period, a cockroach is awake and active – mostly hunting for food, a partner to mate, and shelter. Therefore, most cockroaches you see in your home are active during the starting hours of the night.

They are believed to sleep in the daytime since we don’t see many roaches at this time. They stay in their nests, resting and completing their circadian rhythm.

Lack of sleep in cockroaches can affect their biological functions. For example, sleep deprivation in cockroaches can lead to memory loss, increased metabolism rate, and poor responsiveness.

According to the study by NIH, any disturbance in the rest period of cockroaches can impact their activity states in three stages. They are:

  1. Locomotion
  2. Limb/antennae movement
  3. Immobility period

Cockroaches experience a reduction of locomotion and antennae movement in the first 4 to 5 hours after dark. Soon they enter an immobility state and become inactive.

How Do Cockroaches Sleep?

Cockroaches have two stages of sleep. In the first stage, you notice little movement in their antennae and legs. And then, they slowly enter the immobile and sleeping stage.

If you see a cockroach move its antenna or legs, they are not in a complete sleeping state. So if you see a cockroach with no movement, it indicates they are in the sleeping stage.

Do Cockroaches Sleep on Their Back?

Unlike mammals or any other living creatures who sleep in a reclined position, cockroaches do not sleep on their back to sleep.

Cockroaches normally sleep by staying in an upside-down position in a steady and immobile state as if they are dead. They become completely inactive without interacting with their surroundings.

Since cockroaches prefer to rest and sleep in dark and warm places, such as sewerage holes, wall cracks, corners, kitchen drawers, etc., they are not disturbed by anyone. If you observe a cockroach standing in a single spot for a longer time, it could mean they are resting or sleeping.

Do Cockroaches Sleep on Food?

No, you will not likely see a cockroach fall asleep on the food. When the bug is hunting for food, it becomes extremely cautious. It ensures it doesn’t get in contact with a human or any other predator during its food hunt.

Even after consuming food, they do not stay. They flee. This behavior is common among insects during food hunts. However, if you see a cockroach on food not moving, you must throw the food away as it can spread various viruses and diseases.

Do Cockroaches Sleep on Humans?

A cockroach can sleep on humans. While the bugs are less likely to bother you, they can easily climb to where you are sleeping and stay there as long as you don’t notice.

Cockroaches can sleep on you if you remain still for a long period of time. However, this is a rare situation. If you have a pest infestation in your home, you may see a roach or two resting on your chest.

Can Cockroaches Crawl Onto Sleeping Beds?

Humans are the biggest predators of cockroaches, which is why cockroaches try to avoid them, but they can not avoid a warm, fluffy place. They can easily crawl onto your bed if it contains:

  • Hair or pet dander
  • Liquid spills
  • Food crumbs
  • Dead skin cells

Cockroaches can also benefit from open pockets or torn areas in mattresses. These pockets are tight spaces with warmth, making a perfect place for cockroaches to reside inside.

Where Do Cockroaches Sleep During the Day?

Cockroaches become inactive during the day. They hide in their nests to sleep and rest during this time. Therefore, if you see two or more cockroaches during the day, your house is most probably exposed to pest infestation.

Some common areas for them to live and hide in your home during the day include:

  • Behind refrigerator
  • Under stoves and sinks
  • Floor drains
  • Sewer lines
  • Wall cracks

Why Do Cockroaches Come at Night?

As nocturnal insects, cockroaches are active during the night. They prefer dark and warm places. Most homes at night are between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. Hence, this is the best time for them to mate and hunt for food.

Not everyone knows that cockroaches do not bite, but their sight ignites feelings of disgust and distress in humans. Here are some reasons for what cockroaches do at night:

  • Hunt for food
  • Look for a mate
  • Find a dark, warm place to reside

How To Keep Cockroaches Away At Night?

The thought of seeing a cockroach in your bed surely brings unpleasant feelings. Luckily, there are helpful ways to keep them away while asleep.

Instead of waiting for them to crawl and kill them, use these methods to make your room safe from cockroaches.

Keep Your Surroundings Clean

The most common way to prevent cockroaches from coming near you is to keep your surroundings clean and neat. Cockroaches thrive in dirty places. Hence, keeping your room clean will save you from them. Here are some steps to clean your space:

  • Get rid of clutter from your room, especially food crumbs, papers, dirty clothes, socks, etc.
  • Empty your trash
  • Vacuum regularly. Do not let spills and food crumbs sit in your room for more than an hour.
  • Keep your things organized
  • Clean the curtains
  • Flip the bed mattress frequently
  • Spray insecticide once a month
  • Change your bed sheet

Get Rid of Snack Wrappers

Most people love having a midnight snack or early morning breakfast in their bed. Well, there is nothing wrong with snaking in the comfort of your bed, but ensure to clean your bed afterward.

It doesn’t take too much to attract cockroaches. They can easily be attracted from a pile of dirt to food crumbs.

Remove any snack wrappers, leftover food, and crumbs from your bed. Moreover, if you have a water bottle or glass on your side table, don’t forget to close it perfectly.

Use Essential Oils as Cockroach Repellent

Cockroaches are smell-driven. They rely on their antennae to hunt for food and shelter. Their sense of smell is extremely strong, making them powerful to detect the tiniest food crumbs in your room. Luckily, essential oils with a strong smell can prevent cockroaches from coming near you.

You can infuse your home with aromatic and strong essential oils. They are sensitive to this smell. Essential oils can work effectively as a natural cockroach repellent. Some common essential oils to repel cockroaches include;

  • Peppermint oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Oregano oil
  • Rosemary oil

You can mix the essential oil with water having equal ratios, and use it as an insect repellent spray. To make it stronger, you can add soap to this mixture.

Seal Wall Cracks or Window Openings

There is a reason why cockroaches are successful living things: their ability to adapt to the toughest of environments. Humidity, darkness, and small places are just a few things that attract cockroaches to your room.

They love staying in compact, dark places, such as wall cracks, under sinks, window openings, etc. Therefore, cockroaches can find their way into your bed through small wall cracks and window openings.

Make sure to seal and close any doors, windows, and cupboards. Fill up the cracks or holes near any furniture. Sealant and caulk are great components to seal such entryways.

Pro Tip: Keeping Lights Turned on To Stop Roaches From Scurrying Around

The light doesn’t scare cockroaches away. Instead, they avoid natural and artificial light to safeguard themselves from predators. Hence, keeping lights on will not evade cockroaches but will prevent them from scurrying around.

As night hunters, cockroaches sleep during the day. One main reason behind their behavioral adaptation to the darkness is to make it difficult for the predators to spot them.


Are Cockroaches Awake at Night?

Yes, cockroaches are awake at night. They are nocturnal insects active in the nighttime, mostly hunting for food.

Why Are Cockroaches Active at Night?

Cockroaches rest during the day and become super active at night because their circadian rhythm is tuned this way. Since most humans are sleeping at this time, these bugs can fearlessly:

  • Hunt for food
  • Find a mate
  • Looking for shelter

Does Leaving Lights on Deter Roaches?

Cockroaches prefer to avoid lit-up and bright areas to hide from predators. So yes, leaving lights will surely drive them away.


Sleep is an important element of every living being. Like humans, cockroaches sleep as well. However, their sleeping pattern is very different from ours.

  • The circadian rhythm of roaches keeps them awake at night to help them search for food and water and reproduce.
  • They typically sleep in the daytime, which is why we don’t see them during the day.
  • Their antennae and legs become inactive when sleeping, slowly sending the bugs into a deep sleep.
  • Any disturbance in the sleeping cycle of roaches can adversely impact their daily activities. They experience a reduction of locomotion and antennae movement in the first 4 to 5 hours after dark. They also enter an immobility state and become inactive.
  • Sleep deprivation in cockroaches can cause memory loss, increased metabolism rate, and poor responsiveness.
  • Cockroaches stay away from humans. They are not likely to sleep on them or pets.