Why Is My Bearded Dragon Sleeping So Much?

Is your Bearded Dragon sleeping more than usual? In this article, we delve into the reasons behind your pet’s excessive sleep and how to better understand their needs.

How Much Should My Bearded Dragon Be Sleeping?

Bearded Dragons are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night and are active during the day. Typically your Bearded Dragon should sleep anywhere from 8 – 12 hours per night. However, like humans, we aren’t always so lucky to get that amount of sleep.

But what does it mean when they’re sleeping excessively over the standard amount of hours?

There could be many things resulting in why your Beardie is sleeping in excess, but they boil down to two categories:

  • Improper care reasons
  • Natural reasons

Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleeping So Much

The first category I’ll delve into is improper care. Being a pet owner comes with a lot of responsibilities and it’s paramount we meet all the care requirements they desire.

Incorrect Enclosure Setup

In the wild, Bearded Dragons live in semi-arid areas of Australia, where the sunlight is strong and provides the UVA and UVB exposure they need to thrive.

In captivity, we replicate their natural habitat with UVA and UVB bulbs, if we do this incorrectly it can cause injury and sickness to our beloved pets.

Bad UVB Lighting Setup

Bearded Dragons use UVB exposure for Vitamin D3 synthesis and encourage healthy bone growth. Without the correct UVB, they’ll suffer from lethargic moods and sicknesses such as metabolic bone disease (MBD).

I recommend using tube bulbs like the ReptiSun T5 34” because they cover up ¾ of the enclosure providing optimum exposure compared to the compact bulbs available on the market.

Important Notice: The UVB ray output will weaken over time. You’ll need to replace your bulb every 6-12 months. Remember to check the manufacturing label of your chosen UVB bulb for the best advice on when to replace it.

Incorrect Temperature & Humidity

Bearded Dragons are cold-blooded and ectothermic, meaning they need external heat sources to get their body moving.

If the habitat they’re living in is too cold, they’ll be lethargic and possibly go into unplanned brumation which I will discuss in the natural causes section of this article.

A template showing the different temperatures required for baby, juvenile and adult Bearded Dragons

The humidity levels play a big role in your Beardies overall health, the humidity needs to be ranging between 30% – 40% for optimal health benefits.

Too high humidity leads to:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Bacteria and fungi buildup
  • Septicemia

Too low humidity leads to:

  • Problems shedding
  • Femoral pore blockage
  • Constipation
  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Dehydration

To accurately monitor the temperature and humidity of your Bearded Dragons enclosure, I recommend using a digital thermometer and humidity gauge.

They’re Unwell

Another common cause for lethargic behavior is when Bearded Dragons are sick, among the illnesses, lethargy will appear as a symptom in all of them. 

The following are among the most common illnesses Bearded Dragons get.

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

I touched on this briefly, MBD occurs with an improper UVB light setup. Without this, they’re unable to synthesize Vitamin D3 resulting in calcium deficiencies, causing the body to utilize the only calcium available to it, which is directly from the bones.

Symptoms of MBD:

  • Lethargic
  • Weak and unstable when standing
  • Distorted bone structure
  • Muscle spasms

MBD is a horrible illness and any sign of it needs immediate veterinary advice.

Stomatitis (Mouth Rot)

Stomatitis is a contagious affliction caused by the immune system becoming weakened. When this happens, the bacteria in your Beardies mouth will become infected. If stomatitis goes untreated it can spread to the esophagus and inevitably the lungs.

If your Beardie is suffering from stomatitis, they’ll stop eating to prevent pain and become lethargic.

Symptoms of stomatitis:

  • Lethargic
  • Bleeding gums
  • Yellow pus
  • Swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Black shading on teeth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Favoring one side of their mouth

For more information on stomatitis, I have an in-depth article here.

Respiratory Infection

Your Bearded Dragon will want to do nothing except everything it can to breathe if suffering from a respiratory infection.

Respiratory infections can be caused by inhalation of water, or the moisture levels in the enclosure being too high due to incorrect humidity.

Remember: Humidity levels need to be 30% – 40%.

Symptoms of respiratory infection:

  • Lethargic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stuck shed
  • Green discharge from eyes and nose
  • Heavy deep breaths

If you suspect a respiratory infection, seek veterinary guidance immediately.

Dehydration

Bearded Dragons, although being from semi-arid areas require water in their enclosure at all times to prevent them from being dehydrated.

If your Beardie doesn’t drink from a water bowl, I recommend misting them. To learn how to mist correctly follow my guide on Misting Bearded Dragons: A Guide To Health and Hydration.

Impaction

Bearded Dragons can become impacted because of incorrect substrates in their enclosure or being fed an inappropriate diet to their needs.

Impaction is a blockage in your Bearded Dragons digestive tract and can become a potentially fatal scenario if untreated.

Loose particle substrates such as sand, woodchips, and, gravel can lead to impaction due to accidental ingestion. I recommend using non-particle substrates such as bioactive, reptile carpets, and, excavator clay instead.

Signs of impaction:

  • Lethargic
  • Swollen belly
  • No defecating

Veterinarian advice is needed if you suspect impaction in your pet.

Poor Diet

Like humans, Bearded Dragon need a balanced diet to be able to thrive and feel energized. They need a balance of proteins, fruits, and, vegetation.

Here is a safe food table for reference:

InsectsVegetableFruit
KingwormCabbageKiwi
EarthwormSweet PotatoFigs
CockroachesParsnipWatermelon
PhoenixwormAsparagusApple
ButterwormOkraMango
CricketsGreen BeansButternut Squash
Dubia RoachesSnap PeasPumpkin
WaxwormParselyBlueberries
MealwormPumpkinGrapes
LocustsBell PepperBanana

Pro Tip: All food being eaten by your Beardie needs to be small enough to fit into the gap between their eyes.

To learn more read my article on What Do Bearded Dragons Eat.

They’re Bored

It can get tedious being in the same four walls day in and day out, and your Beardie may be losing motivation to do anything if it’s left unstimulated. 

Keep your Beardie active providing enrichment opportunities like the ones listed below.

Burrowing & Climbing

If you’re unable to remove your pet from their enclosure because of young children or owning a car or dog then you can fill out their enclosure with enrichment activities.

By adding caves to crawl under and explore and branches to climb it gives your Beardie plenty to do when it’s feeling adventurous. 

Although it’s time-consuming in the beginning it’s rewarding in the long run, one thing I have used in the past is excavator clay, you can create all sorts of tunnels and bridges to keep your Bearded Dragon entertained and feeling safe. 

Swimming

You may find this one to be a bit strange, however, Bearded Dragons can swim, and they enjoy it too. It’s good exercise for them and provides stimulation.

I do recommend providing plenty of floats, and rocks as rest spots so they can take a breather when they need it.

Read my article on Bearded Dragons swimming to learn more.

Free Time From The Enclosure

Just allowing them time to explore the outside world can be all the enrichment your Bearded Dragon needs to be kept entertained. 

I recommend finding a safe room for you and your Beardie to hang out in, without any loud noises, other pets, or tiny gaps they can reach and you can’t. You’ll be surprised just how much your pet enjoys roaming around and exploring.

Provide Toys

You can provide toys for your Beardies too, such as crinkle balls, waffle balls, cat wands, and much more. I have a list full of toy and decoration ideas to keep your pet entertained in this article about Bearded Dragon toys.

Natural Reasons Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleeping More Often

These 4 reasons I have listed below, are all natural components of a Bearded Dragons life and will cause them to be more lethargic and sleep for longer.

Although they’re natural, I still recommend you learn and know exactly what is happening to your Bearded Dragon at different stages in its life.

Brumation

Brumation is the reptile equivalent of hibernation. In their natural habitats, Bearded Dragons will hunker down and brumate during the cooler months of Australia.

This means they’ll be a lot less active, eat less food, and sleep for extended periods. They’re not completely dormant and will still occasionally move around for food. So I recommend keeping up your feeding schedule even if your Beardie is brumating.

Signs of brumation:

  • Reduced appetite: Your Bearded Dragon may eat less or stop eating altogether during brumation. They’ll use their fat stores to keep their bodies satiated throughout the process.
  • Lethargy: Bearded Dragons tend to become less active during brumation, preferring to sleep or rest most of the time. They’ll likely spend most of their time in their hide spot instead of the usual spot under the basking bulb.
  • Decreased body temperature: The body temperature of Bearded Dragons drops during brumation.
  • Darkening of skin color: Bearded Dragons may darken in color during brumation, which is thought to be a response to the decreased light levels during the winter months.

Read this article to learn everything you need to know about Bearded Dragon brumation.

Shedding

Bearded Dragon Shedding Skin

The shedding process can be an irritating and uncomfortable time for your beloved pet. This is because they’re vulnerable and expel a lot of energy to remove their old skin.

Your Beardie will typically go to its hide spot to shed in peace and safety.

5 Tips to Help Your Bearded Dragon Shed

  • Limited Handling: Only handle your Beardie if you have to, they’ll be uncomfortable enough without being moved around unwantedly.
  • Bathing: Bathing your Bearded Dragon will help loosen tough-to-shed skin and ease some of the irritation.
  • Misting: Misting your Beardie is an alternative to bathing that avoids you having to handle them with the same results.
  • Rough Surfaces: Provide plenty of rough surfaces in their enclosure to allow them to scratch those hard-to-reach spots throughout the day.
  • Never Pull The Shedding Skin: Although it might be tempting and you think you’re helping, never pull partly shed skin from a Bearded Dragon. It is still attached for a reason and is not ready to come off yet.

Read my full article on Bearded Dragon shedding for more information.

Signs of shedding:

  • Scratching against objects
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargic
  • Doesn’t want to be held
  • Pale scales
  • Bulging eyes
  • Flaky skin

They’re Getting Old

They could just be getting old, it happens to us all and Bearded Dragons aren’t exempt from that fact.

As your Beardie ages, they’ll slow down with their activities from day to day and will just enjoy lounging around enjoying the warmth you’re providing them.

They’re Just Lazy

The final natural reason for your Bearded Dragon sleeping so much, is they’re just lazy. Every living creature has its own personality, some are active and adventurous, while others are not and enjoy doing nothing with their day-to-day.

Summary

Understanding our pets and providing them the care they need is our responsibility as owners. 

We know our pets and when things aren’t normal. 

If you suspect any abnormalities in your pet, ensure to do the correct research and take the appropriate action to better their wellbeing.

Remember, when in doubt, always phone a veterinarian expert for advice on your scaly companion.

Please note: Even though we’ve extensively researched credible sources to provide you with the best information, what you’ve read should only be used as a guide. We’re not professionals with lab coats and clipboards. Always consult a professional if you have concerns about your reptile’s health.