Bearded dragons grow from babies to juveniles to adults over a period of around 12 months; they will be fully grown by the time they turn two. Adult beardies usually sleep between 8 and 10 hours per night. They are diurnal, meaning that, like humans, they are awake in the daytime and sleep during the night. A baby bearded dragon will tend to sleep slightly longer. This is because they need more sleep to help with their rapid growth; indeed, in the first few months of life, your baby bearded dragon may quadruple in size. After this, they will continue to grow at a rate of around two inches a month until they go through the juvenile stage.
As an owner, you may worry that your baby bearded dragon is sleeping too much. Any unexplained behavioral changes are clearly going to cause concern. Nevertheless, there could be several reasons for this change to assuage any worries.
The Reasons a Baby Bearded Dragon Might Sleep So Much
- Environment – Bearded dragons are influenced by their environment and instinctively pick up on clues from what is going on around them. Their natural habitat is warm and sunny, and as a result, this needs to be replicated in their home within your home. If the temperature in their terrarium is too low, they will become less and less active and sleep increasingly more. Similarly, the amount of UV light should replicate your baby’s natural habitat. UVB provides nutrients that are important to help it grow; a lack of it will impede baby bearded dragon’s development and make them more lethargic and sleepy. During the day (around 10-12 hours) a UVB light should be on; it should be switched off at night. This will enable a natural sleep cycle.
- Food and Hydration – Bearded dragons have a stricter diet as babies than when they reach adulthood. For example, smaller pieces of food are advisable, and they are more omnivorous at this stage. Food that is smaller than the distance between your bearded dragon’s eyes is a good rule of thumb. Grated vegetables and small crickets are a suitable size and form a balanced diet for a beardie. As a baby, however, they will need more meat than vegetables. Nevertheless, being fed too much meat and not enough vegetables in the later stages of their first year of life may cause lethargy and too much sleep.
- Illness – Feeding your bearded dragon food that is too big for it may also cause illness. Constipation – or impaction – is a common cause of being fed large-sized chunks of food and once again may be the reason for your baby beardie sleeping too much. Impaction can also happen if the substrate on the floor of the terrarium contains small pieces that may have been ingested by your bearded dragon. Other illnesses can cause them to sleep too much, and fatigue can be a sign of general sickness.
- Stress – When you first bring your baby home, it may become stressed by the relocation to a new environment. This can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. This substantial change in their life can cause them to sleep longer than usual as the process of relocating is very tiring. As long as their other behavior, including eating and defecating, remains normal, sleeping too much because of stress is not anything to overtly worry about.
Baby bearded dragons need a lot of sleep in the first 10 months of life. Rapid growth and development mean they can sleep up to half of the time and, in most cases, all the way through the night. There are reasons for them potentially sleeping too much but as outlined above, there are reasonable steps to take to help their sleep cycle return to normal. Simple things that you as an owner can regularly check and adjust if needed – temperature, light, diet, and other environmental factors will all help your beardie sleep a correct amount.
- Featured Image (Bearded Dragon Posing): Scott Kinmartin – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
- Bearded Dragon: Petr Kratochvil – CC0 Public Domain