A hamster’s sleeping routine is the first thing that worries new owners.
Most hamsters remain drowsy the entire day and become fully active at night and dawn, leaving owners clueless about how long they actually sleep.
So how many hours do hamsters sleep in a day? An average adult hamster sleeps for 6 to 8 hours a day, while a baby hamster sleeps for around 10 to 14 hours a day. Hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and wake at night. Most of them sleep in short naps throughout the day rather than a deep slumber.
Several other factors can also affect how long your hamster sleeps, like their breed, environment, and diet.
To find out more, keep reading ahead:
How Much Do Hamsters Sleep?
Most people want a straight answer as to how many hours their hamster sleeps. However, the answer is a little more complicated than that. While an average hamster will require around 6 to 8 hours of sleep each day on average, this number can vary from hamster to hamster.
That’s because factors like age, diet, environment, and breed can affect how much sleep they need. Let’s discuss how each of these factors in detail below:
Hamsters tend to sleep the longest as newborns than at any other stage of their life. A baby hamster is born blind, deaf, and without any hair. Like humans, they need tons of sleep in this fragile state to grow up quickly and develop their eyesight and ability to hear. That’s why a baby hamster will sleep up to 10 to 14 hours a day until they’ve become at least four to six weeks old.
Have you ever noticed how you feel more fatigued and sleepier when you’re on a poor diet? The same applies to hamsters. If their nutritional needs are not being met or they’re dehydrated, they will naturally feel tired and spend more time resting or sleeping.
To prevent this, make sure that your hamster is getting a healthy diet composed of hay and pellets, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure that they have access to fresh and clean water at all times to prevent dehydration.
A hamster’s environment impacts the quality of their sleep in multiple ways. The level of noise, the lighting, the room temperature, and even intruders like cats and dogs can interrupt your hamster from their fragile snooze. Because hamsters usually sleep during the day, it’s important to place their cage in an isolated, cozy, and dim part of the house where they are safe from all sorts of interruptions and can get a deep and relaxing sleep.
Although breed doesn’t directly impact how much sleep a hamster needs, both Syrian and Dwarf hamsters live very differently in their cage, which can interfere with their sleeping pattern. Dwarf hamsters prefer to live in pairs, so they often disrupt the other partner and affect their sleeping cycle and duration. But Syrian hamsters are usually kept alone, so they get more consistent rest compared to Dwarf hamsters.
Hamsters Sleeping Routine
The key to having healthy and fully rested hamsters is to understand their sleeping pattern. Generally, hamsters tend to be nocturnal, so their sleeping cycle is the complete opposite of humans. However, there are ways that you can allow your hamster to fully rest and get enough time to play and interact with them.
But first, let’s take a more in-depth look into the sleeping habits of hamsters:
When should hamsters sleep?
To understand a hamster’s sleeping cycle, you have to understand the role of evolution first. Hamsters are naturally nocturnal or crepuscular. They have evolved to sleep and rest during the day when the big predators are out looking for food, and they become more active at night when the chances of being attacked by hunters are lowest.
Some studies have also shown that hamsters are more crepuscular. This means that they sleep at night, are most active during dusk and dawn, and stay drowsy during the day.
To find out whether your hamster is nocturnal or crepuscular, notice their routine for a full day. If your hamster spends most of its day sleeping and always wakes up active at a particular time during the evening, chances are that they’re nocturnal. However, if your hamster remains groggy throughout the day while sporadically becoming active, particularly at dusk and dawn, they might be crepuscular.
But despite whether your hamster is nocturnal or crepuscular, they still need their compulsory 6 to 8 hours of deep sleep to stay healthy. And that’s what we’ll try to find out how to do just below:
How to improve a hamster’s sleeping cycle
Sleep is as important for a hamster’s well-being as it is for any other pet. To ensure that your hamster gets 6 to 8 hours of rest, you need to take care of several factors that can affect their sleep cycle. Here’s how you can do it:
- Provide them with a clean and cozy bed: Hamsters hide and sleep in burrows in the wild. The purpose of a burrow is to make your hamster feel warm, comfortable, and safe. That’s what you need to replicate in their cage. Make sure that they have a hideout and clean bedding, and your hamster will take care of the rest. Try not to unnecessarily move or shift their bed as hamsters tend to be very sensitive about it.
- Reduce lighting and disturbances: You need to make sure that your hamster’s cage is in a quiet and secluded area with dim lighting. Secure the area from intruders and other family members as hamsters can get awoken even by soft sounds. Also, make sure that the place is away from your bed, so you aren’t disturbed by your hamster playing or running around during the night if they’re nocturnal.
- Make sure the room isn’t cold: Room temperature can interfere a lot with a hamster’s sleeping cycle. If their cage is placed in an area that’s too cold, their hibernation instincts will kick in and they’ll start sleeping through most of the day. The ideal room temperature for hamsters is 68 – 75°F (20 – 24°C) so make sure it doesn’t exceed this range.
Why You Shouldn’t Disturb A Sleeping Hamster
Because most hamsters sleep throughout the day, many owners have a bad habit of waking their hamsters up to play or interact with them. While this practice may seem harmless, hamsters hate such rude awakening. At the moment, they might become cranky and even bite you if you try to approach them. But in the long run, sleep deprivation will start creeping in and the lack of sleep will eventually take a toll on your hamster’s health.
In the long run, a lack of sleep can lead to multiple health and behavioral problems. Your hamster will develop stress, anxiety, memory loss and will start becoming more aggressive. Moreover, it will impact your hamster’s overall health and start shaving off the extra years from their lifespan.
That’s why you must allow your hamster at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every single day. If your routine doesn’t allow you to interact and play with your pet, you can try some techniques that we’ll discuss below to reach a compromise or softly wake your hamster to spend time with them.
How to wake a sleeping hamster
Although rudely waking your hamster has its consequences, there are certain methods you can use to softly wake up your hamster, whether it’s due to an emergency or just to spend time with them. Here are some of the most effective ones listed below:
- Increase the room’s brightness: Probably the best way to start waking your hamster in the softest way possible is to turn on a couple of lights in your room. An increase in lighting will automatically trigger a hamster’s instincts that it’s time to wake up.
- Lightly talk to your hamster: Hamsters have extremely sensitive hearing, so they can get alarmed by even the slightest noise. That’s why you should make them alert of your presence first by talking with them in a very faint voice. This will prevent them from becoming startled and will gradually wake them up from their sleep.
- Do some steady movements around them: Once your hamster becomes aware of your presence with the lights and your voice, start making them alert by moving things around their cage. You could add food to their tray, change their bedding, or replace their water. These small activities will make your hamster more alert and active.
Once you’ve completed all three steps, your hamster will come out of their burrow or hideout. Don’t pick them up immediately after they’ve awakened. Give your hamster some time to come out of the zone; otherwise, you risk getting bit. We recommend keeping tabs on your hamsters sleeping routine and only waking them up once you’re confident that they’ve had enough sleep or are napping.
Why is my hamster sleeping so much?
If a healthy adult hamster is oversleeping, the reason could be a disease or illness, depression, low blood sugar due to malnutrition, or merely a change in routine.
Why does my hamster sleep on his wheel?
If your hamster sleeps anywhere apart from their bed, it means that there’s something wrong with it. The bed could be too warm or cold for your hamster, have lots of exposure to light and noise, or could simply make your hamster uncomfortable due to its dimensions or shape.
Should you cover your hamster cage at night?
No, hamsters are usually awake at night, so covering their cage won’t make them fall asleep. However, we do recommend placing a cover during the day so that your hamster can sleep comfortably while still having oxygen passing through.
What does it mean if your hamster sleeps on you?
It means that your hamster trusts you enough to sleep on you. Hamsters rarely sleep in a place where they are exposed, so if they sleep on you, it means that they feel secure in your presence.
Why is my hamster making noises while sleeping?
Like humans’ snore, hamsters also make soft noises while sleeping. However, if they’re making wheezing or clicking sounds, they could be sick, so make an appointment with a vet soon.