Welcome, new bearded dragon owners! As a proud parent to your scaly friend, it’s essential to understand their sleep habits to ensure their health and happiness. Sleep is a crucial aspect of your bearded dragon’s well-being, and by knowing their patterns and needs, you’ll be able to provide the best possible care. In this article, we’ll dive into the fascinating world of bearded dragon sleep, so you can rest easy knowing you’re doing everything you can to keep your pet healthy.
Bearded Dragon Sleep Basics
Bearded dragons are diurnal creatures, which means they’re active during the day and sleep at night. They typically follow a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed shortly after the sun goes down and waking up as it rises. On average, bearded dragons need 10-12 hours of sleep each night to maintain their health.
To ensure a good night’s sleep for your bearded dragon, it’s crucial to provide a proper enclosure. A suitable habitat should include:
- A comfortable, clean, and secure sleeping area, such as a hide box or cave
- A temperature gradient, with a basking area at around 95-110°F (35-43°C) and a cooler area at 75-85°F (24-29°C) during the day. At night, the temperature should drop to around 65-75°F (18-24°C).
- A UVB light, which is essential for your bearded dragon’s health, should be turned off at night to mimic their natural environment.
Make sure to read our guide on the proper bearded dragon tank setup if you haven’t yet!
Brumation is a hibernation-like state that bearded dragons enter during the colder months. It’s a natural process that helps conserve energy when food is scarce. During brumation, your bearded dragon may sleep more than usual, eat less, or even stop eating altogether. Here’s what you need to know:
Signs your bearded dragon is brumating include decreased activity, hiding, and loss of appetite.
To care for a brumating bearded dragon, maintain their enclosure temperature and provide a dark, quiet environment. Offer food and water, but don’t be alarmed if they don’t eat much.
Common Sleep-related Behaviors
Bearded dragons are known for their quirky sleeping positions. Some common poses include:
- Lying flat on their stomach with their legs spread out
- Sleeping on their side or back
- Resting their head on a rock or branch
While these positions might seem strange, they’re typically nothing to worry about. However, if you notice your bearded dragon struggling to breathe or appearing distressed, consult a veterinarian.
Occasionally, bearded dragons might experience sleep disturbances. Common causes include:
- Incorrect temperature or lighting
- Stress from a new environment or other changes
- Illness or parasites
To address these issues, double-check your bearded dragon’s habitat, provide a stress-free environment, and consult a veterinarian if necessary.
Dreaming in bearded dragons
Believe it or not, bearded dragons might dream! While research on reptile dreaming is limited, some studies suggest that they experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is associated with dreaming in mammals. Signs that your bearded dragon might be dreaming include twitching, eye movement, and subtle changes in breathing.
Sleep-related Health Concerns
Insomnia in bearded dragons
Insomnia in bearded dragons is uncommon but can be caused by factors such as stress, incorrect habitat conditions, or illness. If your bearded dragon is struggling to fall asleep or staying awake for extended periods, consider the following steps:
- Review your pet’s enclosure, ensuring proper temperature, lighting, and cleanliness.
- Minimize stress by providing a consistent routine and reducing noise and disturbances around the enclosure.
- Consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
While bearded dragons need ample sleep, excessive sleep can be a cause for concern. Factors that may contribute to over-sleeping include:
- Illness or injury
- Stress or depression
If you suspect your bearded dragon is sleeping too much, consult a veterinarian to assess their health.
Sleep apnea in bearded dragons
Sleep apnea, a condition characterized by brief interruptions in breathing during sleep, has been observed in some bearded dragons. Symptoms include snoring, gasping for air, and frequent awakenings. If you suspect your bearded dragon has sleep apnea, consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment options.
Tips for Encouraging Healthy Sleep
Establishing a routine
A consistent daily routine can help regulate your bearded dragon’s sleep patterns. This includes maintaining a regular schedule for feeding, handling, and turning lights on and off. It’s important that lights are turned on and off by a fixed, automated timer, and not by hand! This creates a consistent routine and prevents irregularities and mistakes.
Over time, your pet will adapt to this routine, making it easier for them to fall asleep and wake up at the appropriate times.
Providing a proper sleep environment
A comfortable, secure, and well-maintained enclosure is essential for healthy sleep. Ensure your bearded dragon has:
- A clean, cozy hide box or cave for sleeping
- The correct temperature gradient and lighting conditions
- A stress-free environment free of excessive noise and disturbances
Monitoring your bearded dragon’s sleep patterns and behaviors
Keeping an eye on your bearded dragon’s sleep habits can help you identify any changes that may indicate health concerns. Observe their sleeping positions, duration, and any unusual behaviors, and consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Can a bearded dragon sleep in your bed?
While it might be tempting to snuggle up with your bearded dragon in bed, it’s not recommended. Bearded dragons require specific temperature and lighting conditions for proper sleep, which can’t be replicated in a human bed.
Additionally, there’s a risk of injury or suffocation for your pet, and sleeping with a bearded dragon could also expose you to potential health risks, such as salmonella. Instead, provide a comfortable, secure enclosure for your bearded dragon to sleep in, ensuring their safety and well-being.
Do bearded dragons go into deep sleep?
Bearded dragons do experience deep sleep, which is important for their overall health. During deep sleep, your bearded dragon’s body can repair and rejuvenate itself. You may notice your bearded dragon’s breathing slow down and their body relax during this phase of sleep.
However, unlike mammals, bearded dragons don’t exhibit clear distinctions between sleep stages, making it difficult to determine exactly when they enter deep sleep.
Do bearded dragons go into REM sleep?
Although research on reptile sleep is limited, some studies suggest that bearded dragons experience REM sleep, a stage commonly associated with dreaming in mammals. During REM sleep, you may observe your bearded dragon’s eyes moving beneath their eyelids, as well as twitching or subtle changes in breathing. However, more research is needed to fully understand the significance of REM sleep in bearded dragons.
Where do bearded dragons sleep in the wild?
In the wild, bearded dragons typically sleep in safe, secure locations to avoid predators. They often seek out hiding spots such as burrows, rock crevices, or under dense vegetation. These locations provide protection, as well as insulation to help maintain a stable body temperature during the night.
Providing a hide box or cave in your bearded dragon’s enclosure mimics this natural sleep environment and helps them feel safe and secure.
Why does my bearded dragon sleep so much?
If your bearded dragon is sleeping more than usual, there could be a few reasons behind this behavior. First, it might be entering brumation, a hibernation-like state that occurs during colder months. During brumation, bearded dragons sleep more, eat less, and become less active.
Other factors that could contribute to excessive sleep include illness, stress, or depression. If you’re concerned about your bearded dragon’s sleeping habits, consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
Understanding your bearded dragon’s sleep needs is a vital part of being a responsible pet owner. By providing a proper sleep environment, establishing a routine, and monitoring their sleep patterns, you’ll ensure a happy, healthy life for your scaly companion. Remember, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your bearded dragon’s sleep or overall health. Happy snoozing!