Are Bearded Dragons Nocturnal or Diurnal? (Full Guide)

A quick answer to this is that bearded dragons are not nocturnal. They are diurnal, meaning that they are energetic during the day. They’ll hunt for food, bask under heat lamps or sunlight, and lounge around their enclosure during the day.

These reptiles are native to Australia, meaning that they are used to basking in the deserts. Therefore, they’ll be awake during the day as they hunt for food and sleep at night. Keep in mind that they enjoy basking in the sun, and thus you must provide them with both artificial UVB lighting and direct sunlight.

On a typical day, a bearded dragon is usually active for 12-14 hours, meaning it sleeps for about 8-12 hours, but of course, this depends on the time of the year and the conditions you’ve set in its enclosure. Mostly, bearded pet dragons follow the same routine every day – they’ll look for water first thing after waking up in the morning.

However, even though bearded dragons are diurnal, it’s not uncommon for their owners to see them active at night when the lights are still on or when there’s loud music keeping the beardie awake. That explains why some people term beardies as nocturnal, whereas they’re not.

Let’s discuss the reasons your bearded dragon is acting as a nocturnal pet

9 Reasons Your Beardie Is Not Sleeping Well At Night

All animals need to get sufficient sleep, and this includes bearded dragons. Therefore, failure to get enough sleep can be worrisome, especially for many days.

Let’s look at some of the common reasons your bearded dragon is not sleeping enough at night:

1. Overstimulation

Like humans, bearded dragons can experience too much adrenaline in their system and thus struggle to sleep. That’s why it’s essential to give your beardie enough time to calm down before bedtime to settle in for the night with ease.

Handling often excites beardies, and this makes them get overly stimulated. Therefore, avoid handling your beardie a lot during the night.

Also, you shouldn’t take them out of their enclosure as hours near their preferred bedtime and reduce movements outside their enclosure.

Also, just like people, beardies need total darkness for them to sleep. Therefore, turn off lights in their enclosure shortly before bedtime. When there’s darkness, their biological clocks switch in fast, and temperatures lower too, making it easier to digest their food.

In addition, avoid feeding your beardie in hours leading to their bedtime as food makes them excited, which may interfere with their sleep patterns.

2. Too Much Light

Bearded dragons, just like many people, will struggle to sleep with lights on. And we’re not talking about their enclosure lights only; even lights from nearby rooms can affect their sleeping patterns. Therefore, as it nears bedtime, switch off both their enclosure lights and nearby lights. That includes ceiling lights, electronics, and even cell phones.

If your beardie takes longer to calm down, you may have to start turning your lights off slightly earlier. Beardies use their third eye to tell when it’s nighttime, meaning that you have to set the mood right for them to know it’s night.

3. Noise

Bearded dragons have a good sense of hearing and thus can be affected by too much noise. Unfamiliar noise from TV, music, traffic, or other pets can make your beardie experience struggles with sleep. In fact, they tend to interpret any strange noise as threats and predators.

As a survival instinct, your dragon won’t sleep until they feel safe.

Therefore, if the window of the room your bearded dragon is facing a busy road, this might interfere with their sleeping patterns. Make sure there’s calmness in the room your beardie is in.

4. Too Much or Too Low Temperatures

Beardies use a combination of factors to know when its night time and temperature is one of the ways. As we mentioned earlier, bearded dragons are native to the Australian desert and thus will associate too high temperatures as daytime. That means that if their enclosure is too hot, they’ll struggle to calm down during nighttime.

Tank temperatures should differ noticeably between daytime and nighttime to help beardies differentiate between night and day.

Ideally, the basking area should have 95°-100°F while the cooling spot should be 75°-80°F hot. Tank night temperatures should be 70°-75°F. You should not let temperatures fall below 66°F as this can be too dangerous for your beardie.

You should not make your enclosure colder at night as temperatures tend to fall naturally. However, it’s essential to check if the temperatures in the tank are within these parameters. If they fall below 70 degrees, you should use a ceramic heat emitter to keep the enclosure heated.

5. Incorrect Diet

Since beardies are omnivores, you should feed them both plants and animal products for them to grow healthy. If you get it wrong with their diet, they may become more active at night or sleepy during the day.

Diet impacts their energy, and thus you need to keep things balanced. Adult beardies should eat a diet consisting of plant-based foods (80%). 20% should come from animal proteins such as insects. Baby bearded dragons’ diet is the complete opposite of their adult counterparts, with 80% insect proteins and 20% plant-based foods.

Adults should be fed bugs a few days a week, while veggies should make up most of their daily intake. You may need to supplement with calcium or vitamins if less sleeping is caused by a deficiency of crucial minerals and vitamins.

If you have altered your beardie diet recently and notice a change in their sleeping patterns, you should check if the food has all the needed nutrients.

6. Light That Doesn’t Reflect Seasons

The biological clock of your beardie is made to mirror those in the wild. As such, you should try as much as possible to keep things as they are. In other words, if it’s the winter period, days should be shorter than nights.

Generally, if your beardie is active during the night, it might be due to the light in its enclosure not reflecting the seasons.

7. Stress

Stress can also cause your bearded dragon to sleep less as it heightens anxiety. If your beardie is stressed due to new pets in the house, loud noises, poor habitat, improper lighting, or lack of a place to hide, they’re likely to sleep less.

8. Age

Baby beardies tend to sleep for longer hours than their adult counterparts, meaning that they’ll be sleeping less as they become adults.

As a beginner owner, you should be aware of this fact and thus should take necessary measures such as adjusting their lighting cycle and sleeping times as your beardie matures.

9. Illness

Some disorders and diseases can interfere with your beardie’s sleeping pattern. For example, calcium deficiency can cause nervousness, ultimately affecting your dragon’s sleeping patterns.

Also, illnesses that make your beardie lethargic can cause it to be sleepless. Parasites can also be the culprit, making your pet eat more or need food more. Therefore, be on the lookout for any disease or disorder.

bearded dragon sleep

What Are the Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep?

As aforementioned, bearded dragons should sleep between eight and twelve hours a day. If they fail to get enough sleep each night, they run at a risk of being exposed to various health problems.

Bearded dragons have been found to experience deep, restorative sleep (REM sleep), just like humans. REM sleep is vital for enhancing brain health.

If your bearded dragon fails to get enough sleep, they’re likely to experience low immunity and fatigue.

7 Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleeping Too Much

Now that we’ve covered why bearded dragons may struggle to get enough sleep, let’s now discuss why your pet might be sleeping too much:

1. It’s nearing the brumation period

In the wild, beardies have a period where they get inactive called brumation. Brumation is equivalent to hibernation and happens in winter. Keep in mind that brumation is quite different from hibernation as reptiles in brumation still move around when the weather is warmer to look for water. On the other hand, Hibernation is a deep sleep state with no activity.

Therefore, if you notice your beardie sleeping for long and it’s nearing colder months, it might be preparing for the brumation period.

2. An enclosure that’s too dark

We’ve already mentioned that bearded dragons sleep at night when its dark. If their enclosure gets too dark, possibly due to dull weather outside, they become a little extra sleepy. Even with good lighting in their habitat, the external environment can affect their sleeping patterns.

3. Temperatures are too low

Like other reptiles, Beardies require warmth to carry out bodily functions such as digestions. Therefore, when the environment is extra cold, their organs perform slower, thereby making them extra sleepy.

Ensure to keep the basking spot temperature within 95°-100°F range during the day and tank temperatures within 70°-75°F range during the night. That way, they’ll know when to sleep and when to be awake.

4. Food change or scarcity

Beardies are omnivores, meaning they need many leafy greens and insects. However, not all leafy greens are excellent foods for them. For instance, cabbage, spinach, and iceberg lettuce are not their best meals. Try feeding them mustard greens and red leaf lettuce. Crickets make good protein sources.

If your dragon is not eating enough or not getting enticing food, they may snooze their bodies for survival. Therefore, make sure your little guy is getting enough balanced nutrition.

5. A change in their sleep cycle

We’ve already explained that beardies are diurnal, but some factors can change their sleep patterns. Possibly, you think your pet is oversleeping because they’re generally awake when you’re not monitoring them.

One of the main culprits for the change in their sleep cycle is lighting time. It would be best to keep your light patterns as those currently in your environment. In the summer, your bearded dragon should sleep for 8-10 hours and 10-12 hours during winter.

6. Your lizard is still yet to mature

It’s common for baby lizards to sleep more in their first 12 months. However, this is not mean you alter their light cycle – it should be the same as that of an adult bearded dragon, but you can expect them to sleep more.

7. Stress and anxiety

If you’ve brought a beardie home or have made many changes to its enclosure, they may experience stress and become anxious. Loud noises and the addition of pets at home can also stress them out.

If you have just brought a beardie home or made changes to its enclosure, you can help them adjust by avoiding handling them too much and talking to them in a gentle tone until they get used to your presence or to its new environment.

How Can I Encourage My Bearded Dragon To Sleep Better?

There is a lot one can do to help the bearded dragon to sleep better, and we’ve already discussed the factors that affect bearded dragon sleeping habits.

One main thing you can do is limit the stimulation your dragon gets before bedtime. Stimulation makes it harder for your bearded dragon to calm down, making them unable to sleep.

Stimulation can come from many things, including eating, loud noises, and handling. Therefore, an hour before bedtime, keep their environment as dark and low-key as possible.

Also, feed them a balanced diet and maintain correct temperatures in their enclosure.

Surprising Bearded Dragon Habits During Sleep

Bearded dragons are exciting pets, and they don’t stop to impress even in their sleep. Here are five surprising sleeping habits that are normal:

Sleeping in strange positions

Although bearded dragons often sleep on their stomachs, they can assume other weird positions. Some bearded dragons sleep up vertically on shrubs and trees in the wild. As such, it’s common to see them sleep uprightly in their enclosure as they’re envisioning sleeping up in a tree.

Getting a lighter color when asleep

Your dragon can change to a lighter shade when sleeping, and that’s normal. Studies have found circadian rhythm is responsible for beardies skin turning a lighter tint at night.

Sleeping for weeks

It’s not unusual for your beardie to sleep for weeks or even months when it has entered a brumation period. Brumation is hibernation for reptiles.

Breathing quietly

You can be shocked to find your bearded dragon not breathing, but the truth is that beardies can slow their metabolism and respiration when they’re deeply asleep.

Burying themselves under the sand

Sometimes bearded dragons may cover themselves in the sand when they want to sleep. As long as there’s no change in its environment, such as introducing another dominant beardie or excessive light, you shouldn’t be worried as this is not inherently abnormal.

Related Questions

Can I Hold or Play With My Bearded Dragon at Night?

Yes, you can hold your beardie at night, as long as that doesn’t overly stimulate them, interfering with their sleeping patterns. In most cases, handling your beardie too close to bedtime hours can make them unsettled and stimulated, meaning they’ll struggle to calm down and sleep.

We advise that you avoid holding your beardie during bedtime as that stimulates them more.

Can I Sleep With My Bearded Dragon?

It’s not safe to sleep with your bearded dragon at night as you can roll over and hurt it, or worst case, kill your pet. Bearded dragons are tiny and can risk being rolled on by reckless sleepers at night.

In addition, they can also come out of the bed without your knowledge, meaning other pets can hurt your dragon. Therefore, for its safety, avoid sleeping with your beardie at night.

Can I Wake Up My Bearded Dragon At Night?

Although not dangerous, it’s not good to wake up a sleeping beardie at night as you’ll interfere with their regular sleeping pattern. Your beardie needs to sleep for 8-10 hours to function well the next day. That’s why it’s important not to disturb a sleeping beardie, knowing that they’ll be awake the next day.

Some beardies can even bite you if you awaken them from their sleep. If for any reason, you have to wake your beardie at night, it’d be logical to develop a routine you follow every time. For example, you can gently rub its back before picking them up. This lets your pet know what to expect.

What Time Do Beardies Sleep?

A beardie with a regular sleeping pattern is happy and healthy, and as a pet parent, it’s essential to ensure they get enough sleep (8-14 hours). 9 pm is a good sleeping time, but you can always come up with your own

A good way of establishing a regular sleeping pattern for your beard is by having a consistent lighting cycle. A light switch can help you condition your beardie’s sleeping and waking times.


It’s normal to see your beardie having lazy days followed by active days – don’t fret as it’s entirely normal for bearded dragons. Like humans, your bearded dragon may have lazy days that you can’t control. The best thing is to ensure lazy days are not a result of your fault – offer proper food, follow a regular lighting cycle, and maintain appropriate tank temperature.

One or two days of oversleeping or not sleeping enough should not worry you, but you may need to inform your vet if you need additional support.

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