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Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal? Sleep Cycles, Habits & Care Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Bearded dragons, often affectionately known as “beardies,” have gained immense popularity as a pet over the years. Among the many curiosities that surround these intriguing creatures is their sleeping habits. So, are bearded dragons nocturnal? Contrary to what some might think, bearded dragons are not nocturnal.

The truth is that they are diurnal, meaning they’re active during the day and sleep at night, much like us humans. Their Australian desert origins have shaped them into daytime creatures that relish the sun’s warmth.

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The Sleep Cycle of Bearded Dragons

Understanding the sleep cycle of your bearded dragon is essential to ensure its comfort and health. Bearded dragons follow a circadian rhythm, like humans.

During daylight hours, they bask under the sun or your terrarium’s heat lamp, absorb heat, and stay active. As the evening approaches, they start winding down and eventually snooze off.

However, you might notice that your dragon seems active or awake during the night at times. This behavior doesn’t make them nocturnal. Instead, it could be attributed to disturbances, changes in their environment, or even health issues.

Bearded Dragon Sleeping on a Wood
Image Credit: teerasak chomchuen, Shutterstock

The 3 Factors Influencing Bearded Dragon’s Nighttime Activity

Understanding your bearded dragon’s nighttime activities is crucial for maintaining its health and happiness. There are a few key factors that might influence your pet’s nighttime activity:

1. Environmental Changes

Like most animals, bearded dragons are sensitive to changes in their environment. When you alter your pet’s terrarium setup, such as introducing new decor, changing the substrate, or altering the heat and light sources, it can disrupt their normal routines.

Similarly, moving them to a new location or changing the room where their enclosure is kept can also cause some unease.

Your beardie may not feel secure in its new environment right away, which can lead to increased activity during the night as they explore and adjust to their new surroundings. During this transition period, they might stay awake, move around, or display stress-related behaviors.

However, this nighttime restlessness usually resolves once they grow accustomed to their new surroundings. Consistency in their environment is key, so try to limit major changes to their terrarium and surroundings as much as possible.

2. Light Pollution

Bearded dragons are keenly attuned to their environment’s light and dark cycles. They need complete darkness to sleep properly at night.

However, we often overlook the fact that our homes are filled with artificial light sources, such as digital clocks, cell phone chargers, nightlights, and street lights outside the window. These sources create what’s known as “light pollution”.

Even though these lights might appear dim to us, they can be quite bright for your bearded dragon, disturbing their sleep. It’s important to keep the enclosure in a room where you can control the light sources at night, ensuring your bearded dragon gets the darkness it needs for a good night’s sleep.

bearded dragon sleeping on a stone
Image Credit: Helza Nitrisia, Shutterstock

3. Health Issues

Occasionally, frequent nighttime activity could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Bearded dragons are generally resilient creatures, but they are prone to certain health problems like metabolic bone disease, parasitic infections, and respiratory diseases.

If your bearded dragon’s nighttime restlessness continues for an extended period, it’s crucial to watch for other signs of health issues. For instance, a loss or lack of appetite, lethargy during their normal active hours, unusual droppings, or visible physical changes could all be indicative of a health problem.

Should any one of these signs continue without any apparent reason, it’s recommended to consult an experienced veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and advise you on the best course of action to ensure your pet’s well-being.

Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your bearded dragon’s health. So, when in doubt, get in touch with your vet.bearded dragon divider

The 5 Healthy Practices for Your Bearded Dragon

Ensuring a healthy and natural sleep cycle for your bearded dragon is an integral part of their care. Here are some tips to help you keep your pet healthy and safe:

1. Know What Time Bearded Dragons Go to Bed

Try to mimic the natural light and dark cycle as closely as possible. Bearded dragons need around 8 to 12 hours of light during the day, followed by an equal period of darkness. This rhythm can be achieved through a combination of natural sunlight and the use of a UVB lamp.

2. Keep an Eye Out for Light Pollution

Ensure that the room where you keep your bearded dragon’s terrarium doesn’t have unnecessary light sources at night. This includes devices with LED lights, street lights, or any other sources of light pollution.

a bearded dragon sleeping under a log
Image Credit: Dudley Simpson, Shutterstock

3. Stay on Top of Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups with a vet experienced in reptile care are crucial. Early detection of health issues can make a significant difference in treatment and recovery.

4. Provide Your Beardie With a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is key to your dragon’s overall health and wellness. Ensure they’re getting the right mix of insects, vegetables, and occasional fruit, depending on their age and size.

5. Create and Maintain a Comfortable Habitat

An appropriately sized enclosure with plenty of room to roam, basking spots, hides, and a proper gradient of temperature can contribute to your dragon’s well-being and help maintain regular sleep cycles.

With these tips in mind, you can strive to provide a comfortable environment for your bearded dragon. If you’re uncertain or uncomfortable overseeing your beardie’s mating habits, don’t hesitate to seek direction from your vet.

bearded dragon in terrarium
Image Credit: Phuwadon Phichairat, Shutterstock

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As strange as it may sound, bearded dragons are indeed daytime dwellers, not nocturnal as some might believe. Knowing this, you can be sure to provide the love and care your beardie needs to thrive.

Featured Image Credit: I Wayan Sumatika, Shutterstock

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