Anytime our bearded dragon behaves a little different to usual raises concern. But what about if they are sleeping much more frequently or for longer than usual. What does it mean; should we be worried, and how do we respond? This is all you need to know and how you should generally respond.
So why is my Bearded Dragon sleeping so much? Recent or abrupt changes, environmental stressors, nutrition, and preparation for brumation can all result in increased sleep in bearded dragons. Sometimes a small alteration to their habitat or care will result in more typical sleeping schedules. However, in some cases, they may need veterinary support and assistance.
This is a common concern seen from time to time – fluctuations in a bearded dragons sleeping habits are experienced by owners at some point or other.
That’s because there are so many factors and reasons that can increase the desire or need for sleep.
Most of the time, you don’t need to worry.
That being said, there can certainly be something more serious going on. So you do need to be mindful and vigilant.
So, be sure to keep reading to get a better understanding of when and if you should be concerned and need to take action.
Are Bearded Dragons Supposed To Sleep So Much?
Bearded Dragons are reptiles that need to obtain quite a bit of sleep. On average, they will need 8-12 hours of sleep every single day.
Sleep is incredibly important for your Beardies health, and they need lots of it to support their growth and body.
Just like with humans, sleep is needed for growth and maintaining a healthy nervous system.
Sleep-deprived Bearded Dragons may experience similar sleep deprivation symptoms, just like us humans do.
Fun Fact: Did you know that Bearded Dragons actually experience REM sleep just like humans? REM sleep is when humans experience their most vivid dreams, and it seems as though our Beardies may have dreams as well.Source: Scientific American
Bearded Dragons also have very similar sleep cycles to humans.
This is called Diurnality.
In the natural world, Bearded Dragons, much like many of our wild animals, follow a day-to-night sleep schedule, following the sunrise and sunset.
Setting up a good light versus dark routine for your Bearded Dragon will help them self-regulate their sleep healthily and naturally.
Having a set time for this can create a great sleeping habit for your companion.
So if you decide to darken the room they sleep in from 10 pm-8 am, it is important to keep to this time routine.
Using automated timers for your Bearded Dragons tank can take a lot of the work out of maintaining their sleep schedule by controlling the lighting in their tank.
Reasons Why A Bearded Dragon May Sleep More Than Usual
There are many reasons why your Bearded Dragon may be sleeping so much. These can include fluctuations in stress levels, daylight availability, and daily nutrition.
Here are the most likely reasons why your Bearded Dragon’s sleep cycle may have changed recently:
Their Environment Has Changed
While it is hard to imagine, bearded dragons have natural predators.
And as such, they are prey animals, first and foremost.
So, it’s no surprise that they are especially sensitive to changes in their environment.
And when it changes abruptly, it can have a stressing effect.
This actually increases the need for sleep. But more on that later.
One such instance is when you first get a Bearded Dragon.
Often, new owners find that it takes their Beardies a while to get used to their new homes.
The same can be said for relocation or the changing of enclosures.
This also includes moving their tank around your home.
It can take your Bearded Dragon a few weeks to fully settle into their new location.
During those first few weeks, your Bearded Dragon is likely to be relatively inactive.
Choosing to hide and sleep a lot more often than usual.
It is not unusual for them to refuse food for a while.
So don’t be alarmed; they will begin to eat and explore again once they feel safe.
They Are Preparing To Brumate
Brumation is the cold-blooded animals’ version of hibernation.
Once your Bearded Dragon reaches 12-18 months old, they start brumating cycles.
This is a completely normal and natural process where your reptile lowers its activity level to conserve energy during the winter months.
This process can last anywhere from one to three months. So there is no need for you to worry.
Some easy to recognize symptoms of brumation are:
- Eating less food or refusal to eat at all
- Hiding a lot more than usual
- Ignoring their bright tank lights
- No longer basking in the warmth.
Since this is completely normal behavior from your Beardie, there is no need to try and stop them from brumating.
The only time you should intervene is when your Bearded Dragon is sick.
Winter is the usual time to see this behavior, but they can start as early as mid-June.
It’s Too Dark
Having a consistent light routine in your Bearded Dragons tank is incredibly important.
Having an irregular lighting schedule can confuse your Bearded Dragon.
Making them believe it is nighttime when it isn’t, but it can also start the brumating process too early.
Having the wrong light set up can also cause your Bearded Dragon to sleep more often.
Using the incorrect light set up in your tank will not only make the tank chillier than it should be, but an incorrect UV bulb could also cause vitamin deficiencies in your pet.
Bearded Dragons love to bask in the warmth of UVB bulbs, but this serves another purpose other than keeping them cozy.
Basking in UVB light also helps them get all the sun-related vitamins they need.
However, if your bulb is too weak, you could leave them with vitamin D3 and calcium deficiencies.
The same goes for if your bulb is too strong.
They will avoid overly strong UVB light causing the same issues as a weak bulb.
They Are Too Cold
If your Bearded Dragons tank is too cold, this will make it hard for them to bask, digest food and maintain adequate health.
Long-term coldness in their tank can weaken their immune systems meaning they may pick up more sniffles than they should.
It can also cause long-term sickness and cause them to be lethargic.
Cold temperatures will first affect your Bearded Dragons’ digestion.
They will stop eating, and they will likely become constipated.
This leads to low energy levels and eventual weight loss. Not the ideal set of circumstances for a happy, healthy reptile.
So it’s a good idea to have a thermometer installed in their tank so you can keep a close eye on the temperature of their home.
Avoiding a rather unhappy and ill Bearded Dragon.
Not Enough Food
If your Bearded Dragon doesn’t get enough food, they will attempt to conserve as much energy as possible.
The best way for them to do this is to reduce their activity levels and sleep as much as possible until food becomes available.
So making sure there is enough food available will give your reptile more energy to bask and explore. Otherwise, they will naturally start brumating.
They Are Stressed
Much like those first few weeks after you brought your dragon home.
Stress can make your Bearded Dragon very tired.
Sometimes it can be easy to spot their stress levels rising before they become lethargic.
So keep an eye out for lower activity levels and even smellier than usual poop. This can give you a good heads up before your Beardie gets too distressed.
Figuring out what is stressing them out should be on the agenda.
Sometimes it can be as simple as too much loud noise going on around their home, or maybe you have been handling them more than they would like.
You might like snuggles, but your Bearded Dragon will have some real personal boundaries that you’ll need to figure out.
Once you have worked out what is upsetting them and you’ve changed it, you should see your Bearded Dragon bounce right back to its old self.
They Are Ill
Illness might be your first thought when your Bearded Dragon starts snoozing more often than usual, but it’s regularly the least likely option.
However, if you have checked off every other suggestion, then you could have a poorly reptile on your hands.
Some things to keep an eye on are ailments like swollen joints, discolored or shedding skin, weight loss, whether they are refusing food, loose stools, or runny eyes.
If you think your Bearded Dragon is ill, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your vet to have them properly checked out.
Is It Ok To Wake A Sleeping Bearded Dragon?
There is no good reason to wake your Bearded Dragon up unless you are concerned they may be seriously ill.
It’s better to allow them to wake up naturally and definitely, do not increase your Bearded Dragons tank temperature to try and wake them up.
The only time you should change the tank temperature is if you have noticed the temperature has dropped below 75-84° Fahrenheit (24-29 °C) during the day or 70-75° Fahrenheit (21-24 °C) at night.
This won’t wake them up but will keep them more comfortable.
If your Bearded Dragon is sleeping because they are brumating, it’s best to let them do what they do best and sleep.
Once your Bearded Dragon has started to show signs of brumating, it is almost impossible to halt the process.
How To Support Your Bearded Dragon When They Are Extra Sleepy
If your Bearded Dragon is sleeping more often for any reason other than brumination, you can easily remedy that.
If it’s a lack of food, give them more to munch on.
If the tank is too cold, stoke the fires a little, or if they are sick, a trip to the vets will do just fine.
However, if your Bearded Dragon is starting to show signs of brumation, there are a few things you can do to keep your Bearded Dragon extra comfortable and well-supported.
- Slowly reduce their tank temperature and light until you can switch it off. Don’t worry about them getting cold during this period. It’s a survival mechanism to help them survive the cold.
- Make sure your Beardie has access to fresh, clean water the whole time. Even if you think who won’t need it, he may appear now and again for a little sip.
- Offer him food if he does temporarily rise from his winter nap. He may not eat it, but it’s always nice to offer.
One common myth about brumination is you will need to bathe your Bearded Dragon.
This is completely untrue and just disturbs them from their peaceful slumber.
As you can see, Bearded Dragons like to sleep, and they need quite a bit of it.
That being said, they can certainly resort to sleeping more if something is not quite right.
Sometimes these are small, subtle things where a slight change to their environment or care can resolve the issues.
Sometimes it is simply time and a waiting game.
But there is always the chance that something might be up with your Bearded Dragon from a health perspective.
So do certainly monitor your Bearded Dragon closely.
Look for other signs of sickness, illness, or injury, and do contact a vet should you have any concerns.
Most of the time, it should be fine, but it is absolutely better to be safe than sorry.
Have you noticed other strange and interesting behaviors in your beardie? Wondering what they are, and what they could mean? Well, my following guides will help explain them:
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Scratching At The Glass?
- Why Does My Bearded Dragon Stare At Me?
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Digging?
- Why Is My Bearded Dragon Twitching?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.