How Do Bearded Dragons Sleep? (Sleeping Habits)

Bearded Dragon Sleeping on a piece of Wood.

If you’ve got a pet bearded dragon or you’re thinking of getting one, you might be interested in knowing about their sleeping habits. So, how do bearded dragons sleep?

Bearded dragons sleep at night. They are diurnal (not nocturnal) and typically sleep lying down in the dark. Some bearded dragons sleeping habits are a little strange, however.

In this article, we’ll discuss how bearded dragons sleep, along with how to take care of them so that they have healthy sleep habits.

When Do Bearded Dragons Sleep?

The bearded dragon sleep schedule is not unlike ours. They remain awake during the daytime and they sleep at nighttime. These diurnal animals are used to these sleeping patterns in the wild too.

In their natural habitat, bearded dragons would wake up at sunrise and fall asleep when it is dark. For the majority of bearded dragon owners then, your pet bearded dragon will sleep when you sleep.

Unlike adult humans, the majority of adult bearded dragons need more sleep. This can be up to twelve hours a night.

Because a bearded dragon would sleep in the dark in the wild, it’s important that their enclosure and the room they’re in is dark when it’s time for them to sleep.

If you keep their enclosure in a room where you watch TV late at night, for example, you might disturb their sleep, which could affect their health.

Bearded Dragon Sleep Cycles

Bearded dragons actually share sleep cycles with birds and mammals. They experience slow waves as well as REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Interestingly, baby bearded dragons experience more twitches in their muscles when they’re sleeping compared to adult beardies. Slow wave sleep is another way of talking about deeper sleep.

These sleeping patterns with rapid eye movement and slow wave sleep aren’t found in other reptiles, which is interesting.

How Do Bearded Dragons Sleep?

Like other mammals and animals, bearded dragons close their eyes to sleep, they don’t sleep with their eyes open. Most bearded dragons are sensitive to light so they might open their eyes if you turn on a light, which can disrupt their sleep.

Typically, a bearded dragon will sleep in a laid down sleeping position but it’s not uncommon to find them sleeping in an upright position. In captivity, some bearded dragons sleep up against their enclosure glass.

What About Bearded Dragons in The Wild?

In their natural habitat, you might see them falling asleep in a vertical position against trees, boulders, and rocks. They get into all sorts of wonderful sleeping positions!

Usually, though, wild bearded dragons would sleep in a burrow underground where it’s much safer. They often also bury themselves in sand to maintain their body temperature.

As we know, bearded dragons need sunlight (or a lamp in captivity) to maintain their body temperature and so by covering themselves in sand they can keep warm when the nighttime temperature drops.

A Very Sleepy Bearded Dragon

Do Bearded Dragons Cover Themselves in Sand in Captivity?

Yes. This happens sometimes. If you notice this behavior, you should check that there isn’t any other reason for it – check that the enclosure is dark enough, for example.

You should also make sure that your beardie has his own enclosure otherwise he might behave like this to escape a dominant beardie.

If you don’t use sand as your substrate, you can have a basking rock and heat lamp for them to sleep comfortably.

Can Bearded Dragons Dream?

As previously mentioned, bearded dragons definitely experience REM sleep. When humans experience this, we dream. However, our sleep cycles are between one hour and ninety minutes and our REM sleep briefly interrupts our deep sleep.

A bearded dragon’s sleep cycle is much shorter than ours and lasts only 80 seconds with half of the time being slow wave sleep and the rest being REM sleep. So although we know they have the type of sleep that causes humans to dream, we don’t know if bearded dragons dream.

Bearded Dragon Sleeping Habits

If you find your bearded dragon sleeping a lot during the winter months, don’t be alarmed. Bearded dragon sleeping habits vary with the seasons. During late fall and winter, it’s quite common for a bearded dragon to sleep for days at a time. You might even see them sleeping for weeks or months!

This long time sleeping happens during brumation, which is almost the same as hibernation. Brumation serves a purpose in helping bearded dragons survive through the colder months.

It’s unlikely to see a beardie in captivity that sleeps for months, but there might be times they sleep more, are less active, and eat less.

When a bearded dragon is brumating, he might also produce less waste, spend time in cooler areas of his enclosure, and spend time in the substrate more than he normally would.

Brumation in captivity is not certain. Most beardies will first brumate between the age of ten months and two years. He might brumate each year, every two years, or never. It’s impossible to predict what your beardie will do.

Beardie Dreaming About Crickets.

Color Changes

While your reptile sleeps, you might notice him become lighter. Apparently, this color change is because of their circadian rhythm. When your beardie wakes up again, he will become darker.

Slow Breathing

Whatever sleeping positions your bearded dragon adopts, sometimes they get into such a deep sleep that they breathe slowly and you might question whether they’re breathing at all.

This is normal. When bearded dragons sleep, they can slow down their respiratory rate quite drastically. If you’re ever worried about your bearded dragon’s sleep patterns, speak to a vet immediately.

What Are Baby Bearded Dragons Sleeping Habits?

Just like a human baby, a baby bearded dragon will need more sleep than an adult. However, this is often because of factors in their environment.

For example, a baby beardie might sleep a lot because of stress. This happens when you first get your pet and move him into a new enclosure in a new location.

In the majority of cases, you just need to concentrate on calming your pet and the problem of excessive sleep will resolve itself. Many bearded dragons, especially babies, need a couple of weeks to get used to a new place. The following tricks can help them to relax:

  • Remove loud noises
  • Keep light stable (moving shadows can scare them)
  • Remove other animals
  • Handle your bearded dragon only briefly and very carefully
  • Rub his belly or the top of his head
  • Give him a bath

If you have any worries about baby beardies and stress, seek professional medical advice.

When bearded dragons suffer stress as adults, they might also react in the same way. If they are ill, have a poor diet, or the ambient temperature is wrong, their sleep pattern might change.

You might even find them asleep in their food bowl. Of course, this could be a false alarm but it’s best to seek advice if this happens.

Do Bearded Dragons Take Naps?

Yes. Bearded dragons often nap during waking hours, and just like us, they can disturb their nighttime sleep if they sleep too much during the day.

Your pet beardie may sleep in the day for many reasons. Sometimes, the ambient temperature might drop and so they might believe it’s time to brumate. Other reasons could be that the room doesn’t have enough light or that they are ill.

How to Handle a Sleeping Bearded Dragon

If a time comes when you need to pick up a bearded dragon sleeping, you should make sure to follow these simple instructions.

Firstly, wash your hands to prevent transferring any bacteria to your pet. Don’t pick him up if he is eating or hiding as you risk getting bitten.

If he is sleeping, approach him carefully and slowly so that you don’t startle him. Be careful not to move or wiggle your fingers because in his sleepy state, he might think they’re food and bite them.

When you approach, go from his line of sight rather than from the side. This is because he will only see shadows from the sides and might get frightened and try to escape.

Approach from the front and use your hand to scoop your bearded dragon from underneath. Make sure you support his whole body. If he is an adult or particularly large, you might need to use both hands so that you can support him properly.

Bearded Dragon Sleeping On a Shelf.

Should I Be Concerned if My Bearded Dragon Fall Asleep on Me?

No. If your beardie sleeps on you it likely means he feels comfortable with you and trusts you. Another reason might be because you’re warm. Even as warm-blooded creatures, us humans like to be warm cozy to sleep – imagine how it feels if you’re cold-blooded!

Reasons for Poor Sleeping Habits in Bearded Dragons

If conditions aren’t right, you might find your bearded dragon sleeping too much or too little. In order for healthy sleep, bearded dragons need to be exposed to around ten hours of UVB light each day.

To instill good bearded dragon sleep habits, you also need to turn off your heat lamp at the same time so that they know if it’s time to sleep. If you keep the light on, it might interfere with their slow wave or REM sleep.


The good news is that bearded dragons owners and their pets have similar sleeping patterns and sleep habits.

Generally, these reptiles sleep laying down in a dark place, sleep at night, and sleep with their eyes closed. Unlike beardies, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find humans sleeping upright on hind legs!

When they are healthy and well cared for, bearded dragons are great at regulating their sleep habits.

They will know instinctively to start falling asleep when it’s dark and to wake up with the sun rising and the more ambient temperatures and UVB light surrounding them.

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