Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal? A Beardie’s Daily Routine

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Bearded dragons are native Australian reptiles that have graced the homes of many reptile enthusiasts and pet owners for decades. They are well-known for their docile nature and are thus regarded as one of the best reptiles to keep as pets. If you know anything about owning a bearded dragon, you are most likely aware that setting up the terrarium correctly is highly crucial to its existence. Acknowledging the right temperature, humidity, light exposure, and the proper sleeping routine is required for your beardie to be healthy. So, are beardies nocturnal or binaural little beings?

Bearded dragons are not nocturnal creatures, but diurnal. Their metabolism adheres strictly to the differences between day and night. During the day, beardies are pretty active and restful at night.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the activity and sleep patterns of bearded dragons so that you can understand your pet better and work towards giving them the best living conditions all through. Let’s get into it!

A Day In The Life Of A Bearded Dragon: Dusk To Dawn

As I mentioned above, bearded dragons are diurnal instead of nocturnal. They are pretty active during the day and live by a couple of routines.

A beardie’s full day lasts 10 to 13 hours, and nights, 11 to 14 hours. Of course, there is no clock or hourglass for the dragon to use in the wild, instead, they work with the sun. When the sun sets and the atmosphere gets colder than usual, bearded dragons will quickly look for a safe spot to sleep. They will hide under rocks or branches to protect themselves from nocturnal predators.

Now, you must be wondering how they can tell when to wake up. Well, beardies simply do this by muscle memory and the temperature difference; the weather automatically becomes warmer when the sun rises, and beardies can instantly detect this. They will shuffle out of their hiding spots and then lap on the few dew drops that they can find on leaves. Afterward, they regenerate their energy by basking under the sun.

Since beardies are exothermic creatures, they rely on the sun to provide them with the required amount of heat for metabolism. The sun provides energy that activates their cells to break down literally anything they consume. This is why beardies bask as much as they can. A typical beardie can bask for 10 to 30 minutes in a stretch, and 5 to 8 hours in bursts throughout the whole day. Technically, a bearded dragon spends half or most of its day basking.

In the wild, food can be hard to come by which is where the rest of the day time is spent. Wild beardies will run around eating as much as they can. They are active hunters and gather quite the speed and bite force to take down small rodents, bugs, and even birds. By doing this, the amount of energy gathered from all the necessary basking is fully utilized.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Sleep For So Long?

Naturally, beardies sleep for 14 to 11 hours due to a couple of reasons. One of these reasons is to preserve heat. As we’ve discussed earlier, bearded dragons need energy from the sun as much as possible. So, when the sun goes down, they preserve their energy by sleeping which serves the same function as brumation. Also, beardies aren’t the best knights of the night; while they are notorious hunters during the day, their eyesight does not give them the same advantage in the dark. So, they’d easily fall prey to nocturnal predators that sneak through the night.

In captivity, a bearded dragon sleeping for longer hours than normal or sleeping frequently during the day could be due to improper care. It’s a common misconception that beardies are lazy and prefer to sleep for most of the day. Well, allow me to debunk that fact.

reasons why bearded dragons sleep too much

3 Reasons Why Your Beardie Sleeps Too Much

If you realize that your pet sleeps way too early, past their usual waking time, or takes frequent naps during the day, here are possible reasons why:

1. Improper UVB Lighting

The light in the terrarium is the only way a captive bearded dragon can detect when to sleep or wake. If the lighting is poor, it will throw the dragon off its sensory balance and disrupt the sleep pattern. This will in turn affect the health of your beardie and lead to further complications.

2. Incorrect Diet

Your bearded dragon’s diet is crucial for its well-being. A proper diet should consist of the necessary amount of protein and vegetables matched to your dragon’s age to ensure they stay healthy and strong. Lack of protein deters muscle building and tissue replacement, while the lack of vegetables obscures the necessary minerals that build the nervous and skeletal structure of your beardie. This is an easy starting point for weakness and irregular sleeping routines. Ensure that you are giving your pet the correct diet suited for their age.

Below is a dietary percentage table you can use to assemble a good diet for your beardie.

Age (months)Fraction in Percent (Bugs & Veggies)Number of Insects
0 to 2 (Baby dragon)70/3025 – 50/day
3 to 6 (Juvenile)70/3025 – 50/day
6 to 9 (Pre-Adult)60/4020/day
18+ (Adult)30/7010/day

3. Unsuitable Temperature

In sync with the difference in light throughout the day, bearded dragons utilize the fluctuation in temperature to identify when to sleep or wake. If the temperature in the terrarium is colder than usual, this will slow down the metabolism, and thus, induce weakness and sleep. The temperature in the terrarium should be 104° to 107° Fahrenheit during the day and 75° to 77° during the night. A thermometer (view on Amazon) should be on standby at all times to ensure you keep track of the temperature daily.

3 Consequences Of An Improper Bearded Dragon Sleeping Routine

The impacts of an improper day-to-night routine on a bearded dragon vary in severity and can lead to death. In light of the situation, here are three effects of an improper sleep pattern:


Lethargy is a symptom of several shortcomings. In this case, bearded dragons can be lethargic if their sleeping patterns are off. It’s either they happen to have little rest due to short nights, or little energy due to a shortage of sufficient UVB rays. This could lead to illnesses, and a decline in general body functions, gut health, and bone structure.

Decreased Appetite

A decrease in appetite can be linked to a poor sleeping routine and tiredness. Generally, beardies eat less when they’re close to brumating. If the sleep pattern is off, your beardie could mistake it for brumation and eat less, or could be stressed enough to refuse food.

Metabolic Problems

If you notice that your dragon is excreting undigested food, the lighting duration may be incorrect. Remember that beardies require UVB rays to metabolize food at all times. If there is a shortage, it can disrupt the gut health of your beardie.

How To Create A Good Day & Night Cycle For Your Beardie’s Terrarium

A good day and night cycle imitates the bearded dragon’s natural habitat and flow of seasons. The duration of day and night will vary depending on the seasons with winter particularly inducing brumation. However, the most crucial aspect of a proper cycle is presenting the important hours required for your pet to stay awake and asleep.

The ideal hours of both day and night time should be 12 hours each. This does not mean you should instantly turn off and on the light bulb at exactly the 12th hour. You need to be in sync with your environment. On some days, you’d experience longer days to shorter nights and vice versa. The best thing to do is to turn the light bulb on after the sun rises and turn it off after sunset. This will give your beardie a better chance to adjust to the difference in day and night, and start its day.

During colder seasons, bearded dragons sleep for longer hours which should be mimicked. Instead of 12 hours during the day and night, it should be 10 hours during the day and 14 hours during the night. Still, you should follow the activity of the sun. Only turn the lights on when the sun is out and regulate the temperature to follow suit.

I recommend a regulatory UVB lamp with a dimmer switch (view on Amazon) instead of the normal lamp because it gives you the option to govern the temperature emitted. If your environment is too hot or cold, you can easily regulate the UVB lamp to complement the conditions around your bearded dragon.

How Do I Create A Good Sleep Environment For My Beardie?

A bearded dragon snuggles under rocks or branches to fall asleep. In the terrarium, ensure that there is at least a crevice where your beardie can crawl into. It shouldn’t be too tight that your dragon needs to squeeze in to fit, and neither should it be too gaping that light can get in.

Also, ensure that the humidity and temperature are properly regulated. If you live in cold areas, you will need a ceramic heating lamp (view on Amazon) to lift the temperature inside the enclosure during the night and keep your beardie warm.

Your dragon will similarly prefer the area to be fairly quiet. Loud or stirring sounds can cause it to feel stalked by a predator and will disrupt its sleep routine.

For the fun of it, did you know that beardies have sleeping bags (view on Amazon) complete with a blanket and pillow? I thought it was the funniest thing on the internet! After some digging, I realized some bearded dragons actually love to sleep in it and may even look for it to lay in when they feel sleepy. Perhaps your beardie would love it, too.

The Conclusion

Finally, we have established that bearded dragons are not nocturnal. Instead, they are diurnal reptiles. At this point, you understand just how crucial it is to maintain the proper day and night cycle, proper UVB lighting, and have learned all about your beardie’s activity in 24 hours. If you encounter any problems in setting up the correct temperature or lighting, you can seek advice from a trustworthy breeder.

If you observe any of the symptoms linked to poor day-to-night cycles we discussed above, do not hesitate to contact your veterinary doctor for proper evaluation. All being said, your dragon will be healthy and happy with the procedures and points explained in this article. Good luck!

Photo of author


EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles. He is a pet lover who loves to discuss about bearded dragons and share the knowledge he gained over time about pet reptiles.