Whether you’re a hamster parent or not, you can’t deny that they seem to sleep a lot. Hamsters sleep between 8 to 14 hours per day, depending on a number of factors, so it’s not unusual to catch them snoozing.
In this article, we’re going to explore how long hamsters sleep, and various factors that influence the amount of time they spend resting.
How Long Do Hamsters Sleep?
If you’re wondering how long hamsters sleep, there are a few factors that you need to take into consideration. For example, the temperature of the room might affect how long a hamster sleeps.
Too cold or too warm temperatures will make your hamster uncomfortable, and they will sleep less. However, a hamster’s natural circadian rhythms will come into play, also influencing how long they sleep. The best way to get your homing critter to sleep is to provide it with a temperature that’s comfortable to sleep in, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Hamsters typically sleep between 12 to 14 hours per day. This is because they have polyphasic sleep-wake patterns. This means that they sleep multiple times a day and break up their time into shorter segments.
Many researchers disagree whether or not hamsters are nocturnal or diurnal. Although hamsters do become active around sunset and stay up until midnight, their natural sleep cycle is more complex.
They wake up only a few hours after sunrise, and play, feed, and groom for several hours until dozing off to sleep again. This pattern is referred to as crepuscular. So, you don’t need to worry about them sleeping too much if you’re new to hamster parenting.
When Do Hamsters Sleep?
As you know, it isn’t universally agreed upon in the scientific community as to whether or not hamsters are nocturnal or diurnal. Many factors come into play, including their immediate environment, age, and geographical region.
Hamsters living in captivity are more likely to sleep when it’s most convenient for them, whereas hamsters living in the wild will sleep based on safety, temperature, and food availability (among others).
Generally speaking, however, hamsters typically sleep in two separate segments during the day—just before dawn and just before dusk. You might notice your pet hamster running circles in its cage late at night, but that’s just because they’ve evolutionarily developed to do so.
Regions where you would normally find wild hamsters are typically extremely hot during the daylight hours, so hamsters dig burrows to escape the heat and avoid daytime predators. They often emerge from their burrows when the temperature begins to cool, and then return to rest again once they’ve had enough to eat.
Do Hamsters Have Eyelids?
Unlike their distant relatives—guinea pigs—hamsters do have eyelids, so they’re able to sleep with their eyes closed. If you find your hamster with its eyes open in the middle of the night, it’s likely because it’s awake.
Hamsters may sometimes sleep with their eyes slightly open, but this is most likely due to some disturbance nearby such as a loud noise or bright light.
Hamsters are generally light sleepers. This is a mechanism developed over time as a means of survival in the wild, as they’re near the bottom of the food chain.
Do Hamsters Hibernate?
Like many other mammals, hamsters sometimes hibernate during the winter. This allows them to conserve energy and body heat while the temperatures outside plummet below survivable limits.
Since it’s not uncommon for pet hamsters to go into hibernation, don’t be alarmed if you notice yours sleeping all the time. To help them back out of hibernation, you can gradually increase the temperature of the room until it reaches between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Factors That Influence Hamsters Sleep
There are several factors that affect how long hamsters sleep. A lone hamster will likely stick to a more consistent sleep cycle, whereas a hamster with a disturbing friend might not.
Hamsters living in a place where they feel safe will likely sleep better than those in noisy and dynamic environments.
The diet of a hamster will also affect the amount of sleep it gets. If it doesn’t get its necessary nutrients from food, it will end up feeling drained more often and end up sleeping more.
Finally, younger hamsters typically need more sleep than adults.
How to Wake Your Hamster up
Coming home in the middle of the day to find your hamster curled up in a ball sleeping might inspire you to pick it up and play, but actually doing so would be bad for your hamster.
The best thing to do would be to leave it alone to rest until it wakes up naturally, but if you need to wake it up, do so gently.
Start by turning the lights on—gradually if possible. Then slowly move around your hamster, and finally, gently speak to it to gradually bring it back into the waking world.
How to Help Your Hamster Sleep Better
While pet hamsters don’t have to worry about getting eaten every day like a wild hamster, there are still a number of things that can place them under stress and cause permanent anxiety. Getting enough sleep each day is the best way to prevent this from happening.
To do so, make sure the room is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the lights are off, and the hamster has a clean bed to sleep in.
Ensure that your hamster is isolated from other pets such as dogs, cats, and snakes, as this could leave the hamster under constant stress.
In this article, you’ve discovered that hamsters sleep mostly during the day, and are most active around dawn and dusk. They typically sleep between 10 to 12 hours each day, but this can fluctuate depending on several factors.
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