Do Cockroaches Sleep? | Surprising Facts and Explanations

Written by George Climer

The cockroach infestation can go unnoticed due to their unique behavior and impressive ability to hide in dark and narrow corners. They are more active at night and go back to their shelters or hideouts whenever they feel any threat. 

Cockroaches can also be active during the day but they tend to show nocturnal behavior due to their strong survival instincts and circadian rhythms.

Do cockroaches sleep? Cockroaches do sleep and just like other animals and insects, they also follow a specific circadian rhythm. They are nocturnal insects, which means that they rest or sleep during the day. Cockroaches are usually active for four hours after dark and then go into a period of immobility. This period of immobility or resting phase can be considered a form of sleep.

In the following section, we have discussed how and where cockroaches sleep. Additionally, we have shared a handful of methods to handle cockroaches while you are sleeping. Let’s begin!

How Do Cockroaches Sleep? | Information

Cockroaches have unique survival instincts and rest during the day to avoid threats. Circadian rhythm determines the time of sleep or the period of immobility in cockroaches. In the case of a serious cockroach infestation, you are always likely to discover cockroaches at any time of the day. 

Cockroaches are not damaged by light but their sleep time can be disturbed by artificial light during their periods of resting.

According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, during normal conditions cockroaches are most active during the night, particularly at midnight. Decreased activity was observed during the later hours of darkness.

Do Cockroaches Sleep on Their Backs?

Cockroaches do not sleep on their backs. However, they have three different states of activity:

  • Locomotion
  • Immobility
  • Limb or antenna movements without locomotion

Cockroaches do not sleep like mammals, in contrast, they show a period of inactivity when they do not interact with the environment. This period of inactivity or resting phase can be considered the sleeping state of cockroaches.

Do Cockroaches Sleep on Their Backs

Cockroaches will be lying upside down (or on their backs) when they are killed by insecticides. This position can look like they are sleeping. This happens due to the toxic chemicals present in insecticides. The chemicals make cockroaches lose their strength, which weakens their muscles, and they involuntarily roll on their backs when they die.

How Long Do Cockroaches Sleep?

As cockroaches go into hiding during the day. Their resting phase or sleep period is similar to the sleep period of humans. You will see them being most active at midnight.

How Do Hissing Cockroaches Sleep?

Madagascar hissing cockroaches show nocturnal behavior and sleep like other species of cockroaches and they mostly become active during the night. However, you may see some males hissing cockroaches fighting during the day. The hissing cockroaches fight for mating purposes, and they are not aggressive toward other organisms.

When Do Cockroaches Sleep?

Cockroaches also need proper resting time just like other animals and humans. Lack of sleep can greatly affect their biological processes. Sleep deprivation significantly reduces the reaction time in cockroaches and as a result, they cannot protect themself from predators.

You will also see cockroaches in an immobile state where they only move their limbs or antenna. This stage occurs before they fall asleep and become completely inactive.

Do Cockroaches Sleep at Night?

Do Cockroaches Sleep at Night

Cockroaches are nocturnal insects and they become fully active at midnight. Cockroaches begin to come out of their shelters when it’s dark or little activity in their proximity.

Do Cockroaches Sleep During the Day?

Cockroaches tend to become inactive or fall asleep during the day. They go to their nests or dark and narrow places to protect themself from predators or external threats. However, cockroaches are not threatened by light and that is why there are some cases where you will notice one or two cockroaches wandering in your kitchen or in other infested areas for food or water.

Where Do Cockroaches Sleep?

Cockroaches can sleep anywhere but they prefer dark and narrow spaces. They live in dark and damp places and move to their shelters when during the day.

Cockroaches can sleep under your furniture, behind cabinets or cupboards, inside wall cracks, near rotting organic matter, inside the garbage, near leaky pipes, etc. They stay in their shelters until it’s dark or the perfect time to come out.


The fridge is one of the best hideouts for cockroaches and it offers a perfect environment. Cockroaches tend to live near the fridge motor as it provides warmth and a safe place for them. These creepy pests like to make their nests inside or under the fridge, behind sinks or stoves, and inside other appliances.

Cockroaches and Humans During the Sleep

Cockroaches are very careful creatures, they tend to hide during human activities or when they feel any type of danger outside of their shelters. Because of this, you will not see cockroaches during the day.

Cockroaches and Humans During the Sleep

They come out of their shelter in the dark when there is nothing to disturb them. They have thousands of light-sensitive cells (photoreceptors) in their eyes which help them to get visual signals and that’s why they can respond incredibly well in dim light.

Do Cockroaches Crawl on People When They Sleep?

It is not a usual thing for cockroaches to crawl on people when they are sleeping. They don’t do that intentionally. When there is a large number of them, some of them will crawl people to feed on possible food leftovers such as crumbs, spills, or dead skin.

Do Cockroaches Crawl in Your Mouth When You Sleep?

The chances of having a cockroach crawl in your mouth when you sleep are extremely low. According to some reports, cockroaches can crawl into ears and get stuck there but those cases are also very rare.

If there is a cockroach infestation in your house you should immediately take necessary measures and call pest exterminator professionals to get rid of them and avoid any mishap.

How Many Cockroaches Do You Eat in Your Sleep?

The idea that we eat a certain number of insects or bugs in our lifetime is just a myth. Similarly, cockroaches are not stupid insects, the chance that they will crawl into your mouth is almost zero.

Do Cockroaches Bite You in Your Sleep?

A few reports claim that cockroaches can bite you in your sleep. If there is a larger infestation of cockroaches and there are no food sources then they can be seen feeding the eyebrows, toenails, eyelashes, and hair in general. Their bites can cause a red bump or infection in severe cases.

Can’t Sleep Because of Cockroaches? | Solution

Can’t Sleep Because of Cockroaches

Cockroach infestation in your house can be frustrating. They rapidly grow in numbers and the situation can go out of your hand if you do not handle it properly.

The first step in eliminating cockroaches is the identification of an infested area. This will also give you an idea about the number of roaches and the quantity of insecticide required to eliminate them. If there is a large infestation of cockroaches, then it is advised to call a pest control team.

How to Keep Cockroaches Away While Sleeping?

You can take a few steps to keep the cockroaches away while sleeping. Cockroaches are attracted to your bedroom during the night due to their search for food or moisture. Therefore, eliminating all those factors that can attract them into your bedroom is your priority. 

Remove food leftovers from your bedrooms and discard the trash regularly. Keep your place free of moisture and seal all the cracks and their potential nesting sites. Do not leave food crumbs or wrappers on your bed while sleeping.

You can also place cockroach-repellent plants in your room to deter them. Or apply insect repellent essential oil spray at the openings or entryways. Some of the plants that repel them are peppermint, catnip, rosemary, bay leaves, and citronella.

How to Sleep in a Hotel With Cockroaches?

If you have cockroaches in your hotel room then immediately call the front desk for help. Alternatively, keep your room clean and remove moisture to keep them away. Cockroaches hate the scent of eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil.

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Putting insect-repellent essential oil in a diffuser can also help to keep them away.

Will Sleeping with the Light on Keep Cockroaches Away?

Keeping lights on can reduce their activity for a short time period but they will quickly adapt to the situation. Cockroaches are not afraid of light, they hide in dark corners during daylight to protect themself from external threats.

List of Sources

Mellanby, K. (1940). The daily rhythm of activity of the cockroach, Blatta Orientalis L: II. Observations and experiments on a natural infestation. Journal of Experimental Biology, 17(3), pp.278-285.

Tobler, I. (1983). Effect of forced locomotion on the rest-activity cycle of the cockroach. Behavioural brain research, 8(3), pp.351-360.

Kunkel, J. G. (2019). The Cockroaches FAQs, University of New England.

Brown, W., Merchant, M. and Siders, K. (2017). Cockroaches Biology and Management.Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.