All animals need sleep, including bearded dragons. Therefore, it can be worrisome when our scaly friends aren’t sleeping as much as they should be.
There are many reasons why your bearded dragon may not be sleeping. Some of them are relatively innocent, while others can be signs of serious illnesses.
In this post, we will share the reasons why your bearded dragon might not be sleeping so you can understand what action needs to be taken.
So, why Isn’t your bearded dragon sleeping? Here are 9 reasons your bearded dragon isn’t sleeping:
- Too Much Stimulation
- Too Much Noise
- Too Much Light
- Incorrect Temperature
- Incorrect Diet
- Improper Lighting Cycle
Read On to Learn…
The 9 Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Isn’t Sleeping (A Closer Look)
There are several reasons why your bearded dragon might not be sleeping. Often, it can be not easy to pinpoint an exact reason.
However, if your bearded dragon has recently experienced any lifestyle changes, going through this list may help you figure it out.
You will likely need to try multiple strategies to help your beardie get a good night’s sleep again in many cases.
Other times, your bearded dragon may be sleeping the perfect amount – even if it may not seem like it.
We’ll help you figure out which situation is right for your dragon below.
1. Too Much Stimulation
Just like people, bearded dragons that experience too much stimulation will have a hard time getting to sleep.
Most beardies will need a period of calm before bed so that they can wind down and get settled for the night.
If you handle your lizard a lot in the hour before bed, you may find that they have a hard time settling down and may stay awake long passed lights out.
For this reason, you should try to limit the amount of stimulation your lizard receives in the few hours leading up to bedtime.
You should not take them out of their enclosure, preferably, as handling can excite them and make it hard for them to sleep later. You should also limit the amount of noise and movement outside of their enclosure.
Even if they’re safely inside their tank, too much noise can startle them and make it difficult for them to calm down.
Just like people should turn off the lights a few hours before bed, you should try and “turn off” your lizards’ stimulation as well.
Of course, you should also not feed your lizard shortly before bed, as they will not be able to digest it properly in the lower temperatures. Furthermore, eating can make bearded dragons very excited, which can interfere with sleep.
2. Too Much Noise
Something that is often overlooked is the effect that noise in the home can have on your bearded dragon.
If your beardie can hear sounds that are unfamiliar, they can cause stress which, in turn, can keep them up at night.
Sounds that can be problematic are:
- Other Pets
- Outside Noise (Traffic)
If a bearded dragon hears sounds that are unfamiliar then they can interpret them as predators and threats.
As a survival instinct, your dragon won’t settle down to sleep until they feel safe.
It’s important that you consider what room your house your bearded dragon is in and also where in the room.
For example, near a window that overlooks a busy road might not be the best place.
Also, try and consider lowering entertainment such as TV as this can make a big difference in their quality of sleep.
Here’s a guide that shares what sounds bother beardies and what you can do about it…
3. Too Much Light
It is difficult for people to fall asleep with lots of lights on. So, you can’t expect it to be much different from your bearded dragon.
Even if you’ve turned off the light on their enclosure, they will likely not fall asleep quickly if there are other lights on in the room.
This can be said for both ceiling lights and lamps, as well as electronics and cell phones.
Of course, smaller lights likely won’t be an issue. If you’re on your cell phone or have a charger that lights up, it probably won’t cause many issues. However, some bearded dragons may be more sensitive to light than others.
If your bearded dragon seems to take a while to calm down after the lights are turned off, you may want to start turning them off slightly earlier.
Just like people, some bearded dragons have a more challenging time settling down for bed than others.
If your dragon seems to be having a difficult time, consider darkening their room 15 minutes early. Once again, this includes ceiling lights, lamps, and TVs.
Did you Know? Bearded dragons use their third eye to tell when it’s night time!
You can find out exactly how they do this and what else beardies use their third eye for in our complete guide on the bearded dragon third eye!
4. Incorrect Temperature
Bearded dragons detect when it is night time in a variety of different ways. Lighting is one of the obvious ways. However, temperature also plays a role.
If it is too hot, your bearded dragon might think it is still daytime and therefore not go to sleep.
There should be a noticeable temperature difference in their tank between daytime and nighttime to help them tell the difference and settle in for bed.
Here’s a guide that shows what temperatures bearded dragons need at both daytime and nighttime…
Bearded Dragon Tank Temperature Guide
|Bearded Dragon Temperature Guide|
|Basking Area 95°-100°F|
|Cool Spot 75°-80°F|
At night, that temperature should dip substantially, putting it at around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should ensure that the temperature doesn’t dip below 66 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be dangerous for your dragon.
You should not merely make the enclosure colder to help your bearded dragon sleep. Instead, check to see if it is falling within the parameters.
If your temperature in your home goes below the 70 degrees mark then we recommend using a ceramic heat emitter.
Ceramic heat emitters allow you to top up the heat in the enclosure while not producing any light, which will ensure your dragon can still get to sleep.
The ceramic heat emitter we recommend is the Exo Terra 40W option. This is a great bulb and will provide the heat you need to keep withing that 70-75 degree range throughout the night.
You can check out the Exo Terra ceramic heat emitter below…
- Innovative design, 99% heat efficiency
- Emits a natural \"sun-like\" infrared heat
Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
5. Incorrect Diet
Bearded dragons are strictly omnivores. They need both plants and animals to thrive. If their diet is screwed incorrectly one way or the other, it can cause them to be more active (or sleepy).
Diet has a direct impact on how much energy our bearded dragons have. However, just because our dragons aren’t getting the proper nutrients doesn’t necessarily mean they will become lethargic.
Just as often, bearded dragons can become more active as they attempt to search for the food that contains any missing vitamins and minerals they are not getting in their diet.
Adult bearded dragons need a diet consisting of around 80% plant-based foods and around 20% insect protein, which is considerably less than most owners think.
While baby bearded dragons need the total opposite of around 20% plant-based foods and around 80% insects proteins.
Adults only need bugs a few times a week, while veggies should be offered much more often.
On top of the correct dietary ratios, beardies also benefit from vitamin supplements.
Have you ever wondered if bearded dragons ‘actually’ need calcium supplements?
Well, we have answered that question right here…(and the truth might surprise you)
Even if your dragon is eating the correct ratio of veggies to protein, missing vitamins and minerals can cause them to up their search for food, which may result in less sleeping.
This is one of the more complicated reasons to verify, as changes in diet and sleeping habits can also indicate other problems.
Instead, we highly recommend taking plenty of time to check your bearded dragon’s diet to ensure that they receive a balanced diet.
Another sign that your beardie isn’t getting the nutrients they need is when you see them eating their own poop.
You can find out all the surprising reasons why beardies eat their own poop right here…
6. Improper Lighting Cycle
The lights in your beardies enclosure should mirror the lights outside. In the winter, the lights should be on for less time. In the summer, they should be on for longer.
We highly recommend you purchase a timer for your wall plug and use that to put the lights on a timer.
That way, you don’t have to worry about being home to turn off your dragon’s lights on and off at the same time every day as you let the timer handle the operation.
The timer we recommend is the ‘Zilla Power Center Digital Timer’.
You can check out our full review of this product and our other recommended timers here…
Or you can head over to Amazon and check it out directly below…
- 24/7 Digital Timer allows for daily programming with on/off outlets as well as constant power outlets
- 8 Total outlets - 4 daytime/nighttime alternating outlets and 4 constant power outlets
Last update on 2021-03-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Generally, your beardie should experience about 8-10 hours of darkness every day in the summer. In the winter, you should increase that to 10-12 hours a day.
Otherwise, you may find yourself with an unusually sleepy lizard during the day and a very active one at night.
We have created a guide here that shares all you need to know about how much sleep bearded dragons need…
You may want to consider that your lizard’s apparent lack of sleep may be an illusion.
Often, beardies may sleep during the day while their owners are gone and then stay awake while they are home. This is often caused by improper lighting.
If your lizard is often exposed to another light, such as from a window or TV, you need to keep this in mind as well.
A lizard that is placed near a TV will likely stay up later if the TV is on passed lights out. Preferably, your lizard should be placed away from electronics and artificial light sources to prevent this.
Their corner of the room should be dark after you turn their lights off. Otherwise, their sleep cycle can become messed up.
Baby bearded dragons sleep more than their adult counterparts. When your baby beardie becomes an adult, they will stop sleeping as much as they did when they were babies.
This is often a gradual change, so owners typically don’t notice it all that much. However, some dragons can suddenly shift their sleeping habits, especially when there are other factors at play.
They may also lessen the amount they eat, which may or may not correspond with the sleep changes.
You should not adjust their lighting cycle to compensate for their new sleep cycle. Instead, you can reasonably expect them not to nap as much as they did as babies and possibly sleep a little less or a little later on a night too.
It should be noted that all bearded dragons have their own personalities and some beardies will continue in the same sleep cycles as they always did and they transition to adulthood, while others will show a noticeable change in their habits.
You really need to treat each beardie as an individual and just be aware that these changes can happen as they grow and become adults.
Here’s a cool guide with a chart that shows how fast bearded dragons grow from babies right through to adults…
All sorts of stress may cause your bearded dragon to sleep less due to anxiety. If your beardie is fearful, they are going to be on high-alert more often. This will lead to extensive amounts of sleep loss.
Even if you can’t think of anything your beardie is stressed about, there is still the possibility that something is bothering them.
Something that seems small to you can be significant to them and cause stress. For example, loud noises or new animals in the house can stress out lizards, even if they aren’t necessarily in the same room as the stimuli.
Poor habitat is the #1 reason for stress in bearded dragons. If there is improper lighting or not enough places to hide, your lizard can become stressed.
If you change something in your dragon’s habitat, they can become stressed.
Another tell-tale sign that your beardie is stressed is if they are hiding excessively.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid everything that may stress out your beardie. Sometimes, changes are necessary for your lizard’s health and safety.
You may move them to a bigger enclosure, for instance. This will likely cause significant stress but is necessary for their wellbeing.
However, you should expect them to change their eating and sleeping habits in response to the anxiety-inducing situation.
You should also not make too many changes at once. If there are many things you need to change about your lizard’s lifestyle, perhaps because they’ve grown up, you may want to do them at separate times.
Otherwise, the stress can stack and cause significant eating and sleeping problems. You should also avoid needful stress during the winter months when your dragon should be resting.
Finally, the thing all bearded dragon owners dread, illness. There are quite a few diseases and disorders that can cause your bearded dragon not to sleep as long as they normally would.
For example, calcium deficiency is quite common in bearded dragons and can cause nervous behaviors, affecting your dragon’s sleep.
Technically speaking, practically any illness can cause your bearded dragon to sleep less because of stress.
If they don’t feel good, they may become lethargic but have difficulties sleeping.
Parasites can cause overactive behaviors because your dragon may search for food, even if they have eaten an appropriate amount. Your dragon may also be itchy, which can make sleep difficult.
Luckily, lethargy seems to be a much more symptom of illness than suddenly not sleeping. Generally, active behavior due to an illness is rare, while illnesses often cause lethargy and sleepiness.
Still, different animals react to illness differently. What may make one bearded dragon sleepy may cause another to become anxious and, in turn, become overactive.
Generally speaking, you want to treat the underlying illness, not the sleep deficiency itself.
Correcting the illness will help your dragon get more sleep, which will make them healthier. It’s a cycle that leads to more wellness for your dragon.
What Happens If My Bearded Dragon Doesn’t Get Enough Sleep?
Just like people, bearded dragons need a certain number of hours of sleep each night to thrive and be healthy. If they don’t get it, they are at risk of a variety of health problems.
It’s a little known fact that bearded dragons have been found to actually experience REM sleep just like humans, which is important for a number of brain functions.
Luckily, most bearded dragons will fall asleep eventually – even if they are struggling to begin with.
Bearded dragons can also go quite a while with less-than-stellar sleep before they begin to experience serious consequences.
Still, it is best to handle the underlying cause of your dragon’s lack of sleep as soon as possible. You don’t want your beardie to be affected by preventable health problems.
What Can I Do to Allow My Bearded Dragon to Sleep Better?
There is a lot you can do to help your bearded dragon sleep a bit better. Many of these are similar to what humans do to sleep better. The same concepts often apply.
Many of these concepts and ideas we have already discussed in this post.
For example, you should limit the amount of stimulation your dragon is getting in the hour leading up to bedtime.
Stimulation can make it difficult for your bearded dragon to settle down, which can make them unable to sleep.
Stimulation can be anything from handling to loud noises to eating. You want to keep their environment as low key as possible.
Even if your dragon is safely inside its enclosure, outside noises and lights can be stimulating. Try to keep your lizard’s environment quiet, which includes turning the electronics around them down.
Your dragon also needs it to be rather dark to go to sleep. Their lights are likely turned off before bed already, but you need to consider other lights as well.
If their lights are turned off, but the TV next to them stays on, they probably aren’t going to settle down.
You should preferably position them somewhere where they can have a dark corner to rest in. Artificial light can mess with their sleeping cycle.
A correct diet is also essential for sleep. If your dragon is deficient in specific vitamins, they can become anxious and skittish.
This can make it difficult for beardies to settle down to sleep. Therefore, ensure that your bearded dragon is getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals.
They should be eating a balanced diet that contains the appropriate amount of insect proteins and greens depending on their age.
To recap, here are the ways you can help your bearded dragon to sleep better at night:
- Limit stimulation before bed
- Limit noise
- Dark room
- Correct temperatures
- Balanced diet
What Should I Do If My Bearded Dragon Continues to Not Sleep?
If your bearded dragon has not slept well in a few days, it may be time to see a vet. While most illnesses cause dragons to sleep more – not less – there are some out there that will cause skittishness and overactivity.
Usually, if you’ve adjusted the beardie’s sleeping space and don’t have any other reason to think your dragon should be sleeping poorly, there may be an underlying condition that is causing the problem.
On the other hand, there is also a significant chance that your dragon is getting all the sleep they need.
However, they may have recently gone through brumation or grown-up – making it seem like they’re getting far less sleep than normal. What constitutes “normal” can change considerably as your bearded dragon ages.
If your bearded dragon isn’t sleeping well but doesn’t have any other symptoms, this could be their new normal.
Of course, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. A trip to the vet could never hurt and will rule out any underlying illnesses.
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