A hamster’s sleeping routine is the first thing that worries new owners.
Hamsters typically exhibit a nocturnal behavior pattern, staying active during the night and early morning hours while appearing drowsy during the day. This can often leave owners uncertain about their actual sleep duration.
So how many hours do hamsters sleep in a day?
Adult hamsters generally sleep for about 6 to 8 hours daily, whereas baby hamsters sleep around 10 to 14 hours a day. Their sleep pattern often consists of short naps rather than prolonged deep sleep.
Several other factors affect the duration of your hamster’s sleep, like their breed, environment, and diet.
To find out more about your hamster’s sleep routine, keep reading ahead:
How Much Do Hamsters Sleep?
People often seek a straightforward answer regarding their hamster’s sleep hours.
But it’s a little complicated to answer that straight. 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.
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 experience their longest sleep hours during infancy. Baby hamsters are born blind, deaf, and hairless, requiring substantial sleep to facilitate rapid growth and the development of their sensory abilities. Much like humans, they sleep around 10 to 14 hours a day during this delicate phase until they reach four to six weeks of age.
Have you ever noticed how you feel more fatigued and sleepier when you’re on a poor diet? The same applies to hamsters. When their dietary and hydration requirements aren’t adequately met, hamsters can feel fatigued, leading to increased periods of rest or sleep.
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. Provide them with fresh and clean water at all times to prevent dehydration.
A hamster’s sleep quality is influenced by its environment in various aspects. Noise levels, lighting conditions, room temperature, and potential intruders such as cats and dogs can all disrupt a hamster’s delicate sleep.
Since hamsters are primarily active at night, it’s advisable to position their cage in a secluded, comfortable, and dim area of your home, ensuring they are shielded from disturbances and can enjoy a peaceful and restorative slumber.
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 are nocturnal, so their sleeping cycle is the complete opposite of humans.
Nonetheless, there are strategies you can employ to provide your hamster with ample rest and playtime while ensuring opportunities for interaction.
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 determine whether your hamster is nocturnal or crepuscular, observe its behavior over a complete day. If your hamster sleeps most of the day and becomes active consistently in the evening, it’s likely nocturnal. On the other hand, if your hamster remains drowsy during the day but intermittently active, especially around dusk and dawn, it might be crepuscular.
Regardless of whether your hamster is nocturnal or crepuscular, it’s essential for them to have a mandatory 6 to 8 hours of restorative sleep to maintain their health. Below, we’ll delve into how you can ensure this for your furry friend.
How to Improve Your Hamster’s Sleep Cycle
Sleep is crucial for a hamster’s overall health, just as it is for any other pet. To guarantee your hamster’s 6 to 8 hours of necessary rest, you must consider various factors that influence their sleep pattern. Here’s how you can achieve this:
- 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 they have a hideout and clean bedding. Avoid unnecessary movement or shifting of their bedding, as hamsters tend to be highly sensitive to such changes.
- Reduce lighting and disturbances: Ensure your hamster’s cage is situated in a tranquil and secluded spot with subdued lighting. Safeguard the area from intrusions and noise, as hamsters can awaken even from gentle sounds. Additionally, position the cage away from your own sleeping area to avoid disruptions from your hamster’s nocturnal activities.
- Make sure the room isn’t cold: Room temperature can significantly interfere 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
Due to their daytime sleep pattern, some owners mistakenly wake their hamsters for play or interaction. Despite appearing harmless, your hamster may not appreciate you waking her up like this. This can lead to irritability and potential biting. Over time, sleep deprivation can negatively impact their health, underscoring the importance of letting them rest undisturbed.
In the long run, lack of sleep can lead to multiple health and behavioral problems. Your hamster may develop stress, anxiety, and memory loss, and will start becoming more aggressive. It might also impact your hamster’s overall health and shave off years from their lifespans.
Hence, it’s crucial to let your hamster have a consistent 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily. If your schedule doesn’t permit regular interaction, the forthcoming techniques can help strike a balance or gently engage your hamster without disrupting their rest.
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 the lights in your room. The 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. To avoid startling your hamster, it’s advisable to gently make them aware of your presence by speaking softly.
- Do some steady movements around them: Once your hamster becomes aware of your presence with the lights and your voice, make them more 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 active.
After following these steps, your hamster will emerge from its hideout. Avoid picking it up right away; grant it time to fully awaken to prevent biting. Monitor its sleep routine and wake it only when you’re sure it has had sufficient rest or is in a brief nap.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 shows they feel secure in your presence.
Why is my hamster making noises while sleeping?
Similar to humans, hamsters can produce soft noises while sleeping. However, if you notice wheezing or clicking sounds, it could indicate illness. In such cases, it’s advisable to schedule a veterinary appointment promptly.