Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal? A Beardie’s Daily Routine

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Bearded dragons are well-known for their docile nature and are regarded as one of the best reptiles to keep as pets. You’ll be a happy beardie owner as long as you have the time, resources, and love to give. If you know anything about owning a bearded dragon, you are most likely aware that its sleeping patterns (and survival) depend on how you set up the terrarium.

Maintaining the right temperature, humidity, and light exposure creates the proper sleeping routine which is crucial for your beardie’s health. But first, are they nocturnal or diurnal little pets? Bearded dragons are not nocturnal creatures, but diurnal. They are active during the day and restful at night which keeps them safe from predators and helps them preserve energy.

In this article, I’ll discuss the activity and sleeping patterns of bearded dragons to help you better understand your pet and provide the best living conditions all through. Let’s get into it!

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

A beardie’s full day lasts 10 to 13 hours, and its nights last 11 to 14 hours. Instead of using a clock to keep track of time, bearded dragons rely on the movement of the sun. When the sun sets and the temperature drops, they quickly find safe sleeping spots under rocks or branches to protect themselves from nocturnal predators.

Beardies detect the peak in temperature as their environment becomes warmer when the sun rises, and instinctively start their day. They shuffle out of their hiding spots and then hydrate themselves with dew drops. Afterward, they generate their energy by basking in the sun.

As ectothermic creatures, they rely on the sun to provide them with heat for their metabolism. The sun warms and activates their bodies to break down the food they consume, which is why beardies bask as much as they do. A typical beardie can bask for 10 to 30 minutes at a time, and about 5 hours conclusively throughout the day.

In the wild, food can be hard to come by so the rest of the day time is spent foraging. Wild beardies will run around eating what they can find which is fairly easy since they are active hunters with the speed and bite force to take down small rodents, bugs, and even birds. At the end of the day, they have fully utilized the energy gathered from all the necessary basking and proceed to rest for the next day.

Here’s what a day in my elderly beardie’s life looks like:

TimeActivity
8:30 am – 9:00 amLight on: Usually, he sleeps deeply until 7-ish. The moment he hears a noise, he quickly crawls out of his sleeping rock.
9:00 am – 10:00 amVeggie time: I feed him greens before protein to help clear his gut before noon. Make sure to check in with the veggie/protein ratio of your dragon suitable for its age before creating a feeding routine.
10:00 am – 12:00 pmI’d find him moping around or pooping to his satisfaction at a corner after which he’d bask a bit on his rock.
12:00 pm – 2:00 pmProtein lunch: I feed him a few grubs for the day and allow him to be.
2:00 pm – 4:00 pmMore basking and running about.
4:00 pm – 5:00 pmBonding time: I take him out of the enclosure and let him roam around for a bit. He just finds a comfy spot to lie some more.
5:00 pm – 7:00 pmFor some weird reason, my beardie enjoys drinking water during this period. Afterward, the resting continues.
7:00 pm – 9:00 pmWinding down before the light’s out. He’s off to sleep in no time.

Why Do Bearded Dragons Sleep For So Long?

Naturally, beardies sleep for 11 to 14 hours due to a couple of reasons. One of these reasons is to preserve heat. As we’ve mentioned earlier, bearded dragons need energy from the sun as much as possible. So, when the sun goes down, they maintain their vitality by sleeping, serving a similar function as brumation. Also, beardies don’t see well at night; while they are effective hunters during the day, their eyesight is not the best in the dark. So, they could easily fall prey to nocturnal predators.

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

reasons why bearded dragons sleep a lot

3 Reasons Why Your Beardie Sleeps Too Much

If you notice that your pet sleeps way too early, wakes late, or takes frequent naps during the day, here are possible reasons why:

1. Improper UVB Lighting

The light in the terrarium helps your bearded dragon detect when to sleep or wake. Poor lighting can disrupt its sensory balance and the sleeping pattern affecting the health of your beardie and leading to further complications.

2. Incorrect Diet

Your bearded dragon’s diet is crucial for its well-being. It should consist of the necessary amount of protein and vegetables matched to your dragon’s age to keep it healthy and strong. Lack of protein deters muscle building and tissue replacement, while the lack of vegetables deprives it of the necessary minerals needed for its nervous and skeletal development. This can lead to weakness and irregular sleeping routines. Make sure you are providing 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.

AGEFraction in Percent (Bugs & Veggies)Number of Insects
0 to 2 months (Baby dragon)70/3025 – 50/day
2 to 6 months (Juvenile)70/3025 – 50/day
6 to 9 months (Sub-Adult)50/5020/day
18+ months (Adult)30/7010/day

3. Unsuitable Temperature

Bearded dragons use the fluctuation in temperature to determine when to sleep or wake. If the terrarium is colder than usual, it can decrease metabolism, leading to weakness and more sleep. The temperature in the terrarium should be 104° to 107°F during the day and 75° to 77°F during the night. Always have a thermometer (view on Amazon) to monitor the temperature daily.

How Does An Unhealthy Sleeping Pattern Affect Your Beardie?

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

It Causes Lethargy

Lethargy is a symptom of several shortcomings. In this case, bearded dragons can be lethargic if their sleeping patterns are off. It can lead to restlessness affecting their ability to relax and bask, which causes a decline in energy. The consequences of lethargy include illnesses, and a deterioration of general body functions, gut health, and bone structure.

It Can Decrease Appetite

A poor sleeping routine can cause tiredness and a decreased appetite. Generally, beardies eat less when they’re close to brumating. If the sleeping pattern is unstable, your beardie could enter brumation and begin to eat less or could simply be too stressed to eat.

Can Lead To Metabolic Problems

Tiredness from an unstable sleeping routine can lead your dragon to excrete undigested food. Beardies need about 12 hours of rest to avoid lethargy and digestive problems such as constipation, vomiting, or excreting undigested food now and then.

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

A good day and night cycle should imitate the bearded dragon’s natural habitat and seasonal changes. Typically, they enter brumation during the winter as it’s the coldest months with minimal sunlight resulting in less energy generated daily.

The ideal hours of both day and night time should be 12 hours each. However, do not instantly turn off and on the light bulb at exactly the 12th hour. Sync the light 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 helps your beardie to adjust to the different seasons, transition from day to night, and maintain healthy sleeping routines.

During colder seasons, bearded dragons sleep longer. Adjust the timing to 10 hours during the day and 14 hours during the night instead of 12 hours during the day and night. Only turn the lights on when the sun is out and regulate the temperature accordingly. I recommend a regulatory UVB lamp with a dimmer switch (view on Amazon) instead of the normal lamp because it allows you to govern the temperature emitted. This way you can match the conditions around your bearded dragon by controlling the UVB lamp.

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

Bearded dragons snuggle under rocks or branches to fall asleep. Ensure that there is at least one cave for your beardie to crawl into. But it shouldn’t be too tight that your dragon needs to squeeze in to fit, nor should it be too open to let light in. Also, ensure the humidity and temperature are properly regulated. If you live in cold areas, use a ceramic heating lamp (view on Amazon) to maintain the enclosure’s temperature during the night and keep your beardie warm.

In addition, your dragon will 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 can use sleeping bags (view on Amazon) complete with a blanket and pillow? I thought it was the funniest thing on the internet! I ordered one for my dragon and he indeed took a few naps. He grew so comfortable that he started leaving me poopy surprises. Ultimately, I had to remove the bag to save my sanity, but it was worth the shot.

The Conclusion

Finally, we have established that bearded dragons are not nocturnal and are instead diurnal reptiles. It’s crucial to maintain the proper day-night cycle and ensure the correct UVB lighting for your beardie’s activities in 24 hours. If you encounter any problems in setting up the correct temperature or lighting, seek advice from a reliable breeder. Also, if you observe any of the symptoms we discussed above, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for proper evaluation. Good luck!

Photo of author

Medi

EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Reptiles, renowned for his dedication to bearded dragons. As a passionate reptile enthusiast, Medi has developed a solid background in caring for these lovely creatures. He gained extensive knowledge about their diet, behavior, and how to create environments that mimic their natural habitat

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