Vampire lore has been around for centuries, ever-changing, with new myths and legends appearing through the ages as we uncover more knowledge.
Vampires, bloodsuckers, creatures of the night…not only do vampires go by many different names, but there are many different theories about how vampires live and traverse their way through the world.
One of the most pressing questions about vampires is whether or not they sleep. Yes, vampires can sleep in any dark place, as long as they are protected from sunlight. But do they actually need to sleep? Keep reading to find out.
Creatures of The Night
One thing everyone knows about vampires is that they are creatures of the night, stalking dark alleyways and haunting in the dead of night, looking for their next victim.
Coming into contact with sunlight will surely kill a vampire, burning them down until there is nothing left but dust.
Only being able to travel and hunt at night means that vampires have the whole day free, and they may use this time to sleep. In movies, there is always a depiction of a vampire descending down into a lair and closing themselves in a coffin to sleep the day away.
While coffins are regarded as the most popular sleeping place for vampires, they do not need to sleep only in a coffin.
A coffin is just beautifully poetic, symbolizing the irony of death in an immortal life.
It has been said that vampires do not need to sleep every day, but many choose to do so to help the time pass. The older a vampire is, the less sleep they may need.
It is also said that when a vampire sleeps, they enter into a deep sleep, which is almost trance-like.
This is why it’s believed that other creatures guard a vampire while they sleep. Since the vampire is not able to wake up from outside interference during their deep slumber, they are vulnerable to attack.
There is another type of sleep which vampires can doze off into—a more conscious nap.
During a nap, a vampire remains peripherally aware of their surroundings, keeping them safe from any surprise visitors or attacks. Any noises or lights will wake the vampire up, such as the opening of their lair or coffin.
This does not offer the vampire the same amount of rest as a night of deep sleep, but it does allow them to ensure their own safety while resting.
There is not much for a vampire to do when locked up in a dark space, with no way to go outdoors in sunlight, so sleeping seems like the best way to pass the time.
Knowing When It Is Time To Sleep
Vampires desire as much activity during darkness as they can get, and they cannot wait for the sun to appear over the horizon to retire to their lair—this runs too much risk of being stuck in the sunlight.
Vampires have an instinctive sense of when the dawn is approaching, and are overcome with an urgency to retreat to their lair. A panic grows within them if they are not near their lair, causing them to rush to safety.
The same goes for when the sun sets, vampires have an instinctive body clock that will wake them once it is time to venture into the darkness.
Sleeping While Travelling
One scenario that has people perplexed is how vampires sleep while traveling. Living hundreds of years in the same place can become boring, so there are many tales of vampires traveling abroad.
One way in which this can be done is by having a well-planned traveling itinerary.
A vampire might travel with a coffin, which is passed as being the dead body of a loved one. They use this coffin to sleep in during the day.
However, this plan only works if there is a travel companion, such as a loyal human, traveling with the vampire to keep them safe while they sleep.
It is also common for vampires to be very wealthy.
Being such cunning, intelligent beings, they are able to amass a large wealth over the years. This allows them to purchase or rent out large buildings or hotels in order to sleep in during the day.
If a property is purchased, a vampire would modify the home to suit their needs, with heavy block out curtains and extra security.
Purchasing property in many different areas allows a vampire to travel freely, without the worry of being stuck abroad without a place to sleep.
Sleeping In Familiar Soil
Another myth surrounding sleeping vampires is that a vampire is required to sleep in vessels which contain soil from their own grave or homeland. If this is not done, the vampire will be destroyed while they sleep.
This has lead to many depictions of vampires carrying around soil from their homeland, to sleep with during the day.
However, there are no reported legends of vampires dying during their sleep from not having the soil present, so the probability of a vampire dying during their sleep without the soil seems unlikely.
Nonetheless, it is a myth that has been perpetuated by humans and lore and has stuck around almost as long as the legends of vampires themselves, so there must be more to the lore than superstition itself.
Testing this theory, however, is problematic.
Sunrise Without Sanctuary
There are many different versions of what happens to a vampire when they do not have a sanctuary to retreat to as the sun rises.
Many believe that the vampire will simply perish when exposed to the sun immediately, or that the vampire is rendered frozen, or left unconscious, unable to fend for themselves as they burn in the rising sun.
Others believe that the vampire will remain conscious after sunrise, desperately scrambling to find a place of safety.
These theories vary between the different types of vampires, and lore of all of these can be found written in ancient myths.
Other Vampire Myths
Along with whether or not vampires sleep, there are other legends surrounding the lives of vampires that people often dispute.
While it is difficult to definitively say what the truth is around the lives and workings of vampires, there are a few truths that are generally accepted:
- Vampires are able to enter a house without being invited inside by the owner.
- Vampires can in fact cross running water, they are just hesitant to do so as many believe that their soul will become trapped if they die in running water.
- Shadows are cast from vampires, and they are also able to see their reflection in mirrors.
- Drinking blood is how vampires survive. Vampires are said to make small cuts with their fingernails, from which wound they drink the blood. More often, vampires do not kill their victims. If they do, they absorb their memories and spirit.
- Vampires are able to hypnotize people, which they use to convince humans to do their bidding or be their willing blood bank.
- A vampire has to drink a human’s blood at least once a month in order to survive.
- Vampires are able to heal small cuts and wounds with their saliva.
- They are able to move at incredibly fast speeds and are considerably stronger than humans.
For everything true legend spread about vampires, there are also untruths that people create regarding vampires.
Here are some of the most common untrue myths spread about vampires:
- Vampires were not once dead, they were indeed once humans but transform from humans to vampires while still alive.
- Vampires do not necessarily live forever, but they age at an incredibly slower rate than humans.
- Crosses and holy water do not harm or ward off vampires. They are not inherently evil by nature, and they can enter churches.
- Garlic does not ward off vampires.
- Vampires cannot transfigure themselves into bats, rats, or wolves. This myth comes from vampires being closely associated with these creatures.
- When it comes to flying…vampires can’t.
- Vampires do not turn humans into vampires by drinking their blood, but by feeding them their own blood.
- Vampires do not puncture the skin with their fangs. Instead, they cut the skin with their sharp nails in order to gain access to the blood.
- They do not drink blood from animals. If they do, it can make them become ill, and in serious cases, cause death.
- Vampires are not able to be photographed or captured on film.
- Vampires are not indestructible. A stake through the heart causes death, but so does a bullet, electricity, fire or a deadly fall.
In short, a vampire is able to sleep during the day, although it seems as though sleep is not a necessary physical need for them.
Locked inside a dark room throughout the day can become tiresome, so it would seem that sleep is the best way to wait the day out, counting down the hours until the sun sets, and the hunting begins.