Deer are the lowest rung on the food chain, they are highly vulnerable to predators, and for that reason, they need to be on high alert. That’s why deer don’t sleep the same way we do. Deer prefer short bursts of sleep rather than long power naps, and they’ll often move around to find the most secluded spots.
Deers’ sense of smell and hearing are very important in the wild, so even when they’re asleep they still keep a close eye out for threats. Typically, they’ll look for places where they can see any approaching dangers, like large fields and weedy areas with plenty of tall grass and foliage, or low-hanging trees in the forest.
During any given sleeping cycle, a deer will speel (or doze) for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes before snapping awake, scanning their surroundings and possibly urinating or defecating. After they’re finished, they’ll go back to sleep for another cycle of brief periods of dozing. This can continue for up to 12 hours, though deer rarely achieve that much rest as they’re always on guard against predators.
If they’re in a bachelor group or tending to a doe, bucks will bed down facing in different directions to watch for danger from all sides. But if they’re lone, they’ll usually choose to bed facing downwind so they can use thermal drafts to help them cool down. They also tend to prefer sleeping in areas where they have camouflaged themselves well enough against their surroundings, and an ample supply of both food and water is nearby.