Where Do Deer Sleep? You Might Be Surprised By Where & Why

brown deer

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by theworldofsleepstaff

Deer are one of the most graceful and beautiful animals on the planet. But there is so much more to these exquisite animals than just their graceful looks. They are fascinating creatures, and while many people report seeing them mostly at night, they are actually not nocturnal animals. Instead, they are mainly crepuscular animals – meaning they prefer to wander out at twilight or dusk.

If you stay in a region where deer sightings are common, knowing about their sleeping habits is handy as it will help you better plan your activities, especially if you’re camping outdoors.

This article holds the answer to some of the questions you might have about deer and their sleeping habits. Of course a site that specialises in sleep is going to finally answer your question around where deer sleep!


  1. Deer Sleeping Habits
  2. How Long Do Deer Sleep For?
  3. Where Deer Sleep Depending On Different Factors
  4. Do Deer Sleep At Night?
  5. Why Do Deer Sleep In Your Yard?
  6. How to Keep Deer Out Of Your Yard
  7. Our Final Thoughts
nature animal grass meadow

Deer Sleeping Habits

Deer are intelligent creatures, and they are creatures of habit. Before settling to sleep anywhere, they ensure that the area is safe and replete with food resources. However, this is just a general idea of where they sleep as there are various factors that determine where they settle for the night. Factors like the season, weather, whether they are pregnant or not, and so on, can actually decide where they sleep – all of which we will cover in this article later on.

As for their sleeping habits, deer have series of sleeping bouts in a day. However, if you think that by sleeping bouts, we mean a long period of sleep, then you are wrong.

When it comes to deer, their sleeping bouts don’t last long. And when you consider the harshness of the wild and how deer much stay alert, that isn’t surprising.

Being prey for other animals, deer don’t sleep for long because they always have to be on the lookout for predators.

Deer also have different sleeping positions depending on their species, environment, and other factors. For example, some deer can afford longer, deeper periods of sleep, while some cannot.

Usually, they tuck their nose under their hind legs, especially during cold weather – which probably makes their breathing easier. They also lie down with their head up or lay their chins on the ground in front of them. Sometimes, they lay on their sides and extend all their legs to their front or tuck their legs beneath them.

A particularly interesting thing to note about deer and their sleeping habits is that deer can sleep with their eyes wide open!

close up photo of brown deer

How Long do Deer Sleep for?

A deer’s typical sleeping session can last about 30-45 minutes. That sleeping bout includes 30 seconds to a few minutes of dozing, followed by a brief alert period to asses their environment and safety, then more dozing, and this cycle continues.

During those 30 minutes,  the deer may rise to stretch and defecate or urinate before lying back down.

As stated before, deer can doze or sleep with their eyes opened or closed; however, they continually monitor what is happening around them.

With their ever-sensitive ears, they are very attuned to even the softest of sounds, and it is nearly impossible to sneak up on a sleeping deer. And since they mostly doze, they can wake up instantly and run for their lives if they sense any danger.

This does not mean it is impossible to observe a sleeping dear; however, one might need to be far from them in order to do so.

brown and gray deer

Where Deer Sleep Depending on Different Factors

As we mentioned earlier, several factors determine where deerswill sleep.  Some of these factors include :

  • Time of the day
  • Stage of birth
  • Hunting pressure and seasons
  • Weather

Deer mostly sleep during the daytime, which means they are more active when the sun is going down. However, they are not mainly nocturnal animals, but rather prefer to venture out during twilight or dusk.

During daylight hours, you will find deer sleeping in fields or areas containing thick bushes. They choose these areas as a measure of protection from human hunters and other animals that may want to prey on them. They also choose such areas because it provides cool shade from the sun. Additionally, weeds and grass make for soft beds that will cushion their bodies.

However, this doesn’t mean deer don’t sleep in the open. They may sometimes sleep in places like ridge tops or points, but deer sleep in places like that only if they have good visibility of their immediate environment.

photo of deer on boulders

Deer Sleeping Location According To The Seasons

Deer change their sleeping location depending on the seasons and weather.

In the spring and summer months, deer prefer locations with bedding areas and availability of water.

Being near a water source is particularly important because the heat of the summer may cause them to lose fluids. Having an easily accessible body of water will help them quickly replenish their thirst and help them cool down.

In the fall, deer gradually trade their thin shiny summer hair coat for a darker, thicker, and longer one in preparation for winter. The winter coat of the deer can absorb more sunlight and trap more body heat than the summer coat. This provides the deer with an extraordinary amount of protection from the cold.

During the winter, deer are less active, and by dropping their metabolism by half, they require less food and save more energy. They usually stick to their usual diet of grasses, twigs, and other plants and also supplement that with higher-calorie foods such as mushrooms and nuts.

In winter, deer also hide more in deep locations like thick forests. The thick forests give them the chance to get direct sunlight for warmth and protection from the harsh weather. The thick woods of the forest also provides a defense against the heavy wind and any falling snow, and will also help the deer remain hidden to avoid detection by predators.

During winter, most deers also sleep in a tucked state. That way, they can conserve their body heat.

photo of reindeer in the snow

Do Deer Sleep at Night?

Deer are usually most active during twilight, which can extend into the night. Apart from being more active during this time, you’ll hardly find deer sleeping at night for various reasons, one of which is fear of predators.

Many predators hunt at night, and since deer are prey, they avoid sleeping during this period.

They’d rather nap or doze during the daytime in order to conserve their energy in preparation for their nightly activities.

It also helps that their eyesight is good at night, so they can easily make out shapes and movements more in the dark. Unfortunately, their eyesight during the daytime isn’t too good, and this can put them at a disadvantage.

A deer’s main activities during the night revolve around self-preservation, and even when they sleep, they do so in a way to conserve their energy. As creatures of habit, deer usually stick to one place for their nightly rest (if any) and activities.

photo of reindeer in the snow

Why do Deer Sleep in Your Yard?

Most people that notice deer lying in their yard are usually surprised, especially if they don’t live in rural areas. However, deer aren’t necessarily confined to rural areas; they can be in the woods surrounding a community.

Deer will usually visit a place with a nearby food or water source, so this is a significant reason why you may find one lying in your yard.

If deer are in your yard, it means you have something in your property that they enjoy eating.

Deer can also sleep in gardens, especially vegetable and fruit gardens. A deer sleeping in your garden or yard means they feel safe there, and as they are creatures of habit, they will most likely continue to return there unless the condition warrants a change. Deer also feel safe and at home in the woods, so if you have woods near your yard, don’t be surprised to find a deer there.

Below are some plants and fruits that can attract deer to your yard:

  • Kale
  • Soybeans
  • Chestnuts
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Acorns
  • Red Clover
  • Chicory
  • Orchardgrass
elk lying on green grasses

How to Keep Deer out of Your Yard

Deer are known to hate and avoid plants with strong odors. This is because these plants affect their olfactory lobes.

If you want to keep deer out of your yard or garden, then plant chives, garlic, or other plants with strong odors around your property.

You can also keep deer out of your yard by making sure your yard is clear of their favorite foods like acorns and nuts.

Coffee grounds are also an excellent way to deter deer from coming close to your house. Although they don’t dislike the smell, the smell will serve as a warning and let them know that people live nearby.

nature forest wild hirsch

Where Do Deer Sleep: Our Final Thoughts

You have a greater chance of seeing a deer asleep during the day than at night. Deer are creatures of habit, so on the rare occasion you see a deer asleep at night, that should be the deer’s usual bedding area.

However, deer are still very cautious animals by nature and usually choose places to rest where they aren’t too visible or exposed.