There is no denying that hamsters are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. These cute furballs tend to sleep for 8-12 hours a day and are primarily nocturnal, meaning they’ll sleep for the better part of the day and become active at night. But should you be worried if your hamster sleeps longer than he’s supposed to?
Your hamster might be sleeping so much if it is adjusting to new environments. It could also be that everything’s normal, only that you’re yet to understand its sleeping cycles. However, oversleeping can also be due to hibernation or a medical problem that needs immediate attention.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at hamsters and their sleeping patterns. I’ll help you understand what the standard sleeping patterns of a hamster are and teach you about when you should get worried.
If you just brought your cute little hamster home, then he might exhibit some unusual sleeping patterns before adjusting to the new environment. Expect your hamster to take a couple of days to several weeks to get acclimated.
One of the best ways to get your hamster to settle in a lot faster is to ensure his cage is homey enough for his unique needs. That means investing in interactive toys to keep him busy.
The BBjinronjy Hamster Toys Set on Amazon.com is an example of a quality toy that’ll keep your hamster engaged when active during the night.
Moreover, since hamsters are likely to get stressed when kept in loud environments, it is best to set up their cage in a quiet, well-isolated location.
Setting up several nest boxes will also help your hamster to feel at home and settle in a lot faster. As prey in the wild, hamsters always prefer to stay in locations with several hiding areas, hence the need to set up three to four nesting areas for your tiny family member to hide and rest during the day.
Hibernation is another reason why your hamster might be sleeping longer than usual. Winter temperatures can get cold in the USA, especially in states like:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Although home temperatures rarely get cold like the outside, your hamster might hibernate if you put its cage close to a window or in a poorly insulated area where it’s extra cold.
Your hamster will most likely hibernate if cage temperatures get too low, which might disrupt his sleeping patterns and overall activity. It’s easy to think there’s something wrong when your hamster hibernates.
However, is hibernating a good thing for a pet hamster? If your hamster is hibernating, chances are it is uncomfortable in the cage environment. The longer your hamster is uncomfortable, the more likely it will become stressed, and you don’t want that!
Therefore, always keep the cage temperatures warm enough for your hamster to thrive. You should also avoid locations that will expose your furry buddy to direct sunlight.
If your hamster is generally inactive and spends more than 12 hours sleeping, chances are he might have an underlying medical condition or is injured.
You should be concerned if your tiny furry friend doesn’t exercise or play at night when he should be at the peak of his powers.
Fortunately, there are several signs of illness or injury that you can keep an eye out for, as listed below:
- Appetite loss
- Ruffled coat
- Eye or nose discharge
- Wetness around the tail
- Hair loss
An abrupt change in behavioral patterns can also point out sickness or injury.
If injured, your pet hamster won’t be half as active as he usually is, and he might struggle to get around the cage. Be sure to observe his activities to determine if he’s just relaxing or suffering due to injury or illness.
As a good rule of thumb, you shouldn’t observe your pet for too long. A night or two should be enough to make a diagnosis.
However, if you notice severe symptoms like prolonged inactivity, diarrhea, and discharge, it’s best to rush your hamster to your local vet for professional assistance.
If pregnant, you might notice that your hamster will become increasingly irritable, aggressive, and lethargic. Your cute pet might also sleep for longer hours than usual. Of course, pregnancy should not be a cause for concern.
The best approach is to make the environment comfier and easier to navigate when dealing with a pregnant hamster. A trip to your vet might also be necessary for further assistance on how best to alter her diet.
Hamsters should sleep for around 8-12 hours every day. However, as nocturnal animals, hamsters will spend most of the day sleeping and only wake up to eat and drink water.
It’s also worth noting that instead of sleeping for 12 hours straight, hamsters tend to break up their sleep patterns. That means your furry friend might wake up to eat and play before hitting the sack again.
On most occasions, hamsters will break up their sleep patterns throughout the day, meaning they should be well-rested at night when at their peak levels.
However, it’s also normal for a hamster to sleep for a few hours at night, especially when new. Like other pets, hamsters need to adjust to new environments, which can take days or even weeks depending on factors like age, temperature, and diet.
Therefore, if you’re worried about your hamster’s sleeping habits, it’s best to monitor its patterns for a week or two, paying close attention to daytime sleeping habits.
Hamsters sleep more during the day and exercise for three to five hours at night since they are nocturnal. However, if the immediate environment is not ideal, your hamster might not sleep as much as he should, which can lead to health complications.
A happy hamster should sleep for the better part of the day and break the sleep into three to four cycles, depending on his feeding patterns. There is no need to worry if your hamster spends the better part of the day sleeping as he’ll come to life later on at night.
It’s not usually okay to wake up a hamster that’s sleeping too much. While your hamster won’t harm you in any way, doing so will almost certainly put a strain on your relationship. The hamster will become less receptive and might bite you if you scare it.
Remember, even if they are comfortable in their new homes, hamsters typically view themselves as prey, hence their need to have several hiding nests in their cages. Waking hamsters in the middle of a well-deserved nap might stress them out.
It’s also worth noting that your hamster will most probably be moody or irritable when woken up abruptly.
Therefore, to avoid overwhelming your cute companion, it’s best to adjust your cuddle sessions and playtime to suit his sleep patterns. Hamsters are usually active once the sun sets, meaning you’ll have a chance to interact with your pet after work (or school).
If you’ve confirmed that your hamster isn’t sick and the cage environment is well-accessorized with hamster-friendly toys, the best solution is to let your hamster be. Perhaps the hamster just needs time to adjust to the new surroundings.
If you feel your hamster has been unusually quiet, you can lure them using their favorite treats. Luring your hamster will allow you to do a quick inspection to confirm whether or not they are okay. For this method to be effective, it’s best to lure your hamster at night when he’s active.
Perhaps your hamster isn’t sleeping, but it’s hiding from you or other family members. If you haven’t created a good relationship with your hamster, chances are the pet is uncomfortable around you.
To earn their trust, it’s crucial to dedicate some time to hold them and play together. Snacks are also a great way to gain someone’s trust!
As mentioned earlier, hamsters don’t like loud noises and will get stressed when kept in spaces that aren’t quiet. Consider moving your hamster’s cage to a more peaceful room, and you might see them become a lot more comfortable and relaxed.
It’s always best to consult a local vet if you’re unsure about your hamster’s health. Since your hamster’s health can quickly escalate from bad to worse, taking him to the vet as soon as possible is highly recommended if you ever suspect illness, injury, or strange symptoms.
Related Hamster articles:
- My Hamster Has a Tumor: How Long Until She Dies?
- Why Does My Hamster Poop So Much?
- What Hamster Lives the Longest?
- How To Play With a Hamster
- What Size Wheel for Syrian Hamster
It’s perfectly normal for hamsters to spend the better part of the day sleeping. However, there’s reason to worry if your hamster is inactive at night.
As nocturnal animals, hamsters tend to come to life at night, meaning your furry companion should be playful and energetic a couple of minutes or hours after the sun goes down. If you spot one or two signs of sickness, it’s best to take your hamster to a trusted vet for further examination.
My name is Everly. I am a Milwaukee-based mom of 2 and have been a proud owner of many hamsters throughout my life. Like many of us, my introduction to hamsters happened when I was very young. My family saw several hamsters come and go through the years, and I enjoyed playing with them, but I never fully appreciated them until I grew up and my own children decided to jump on the hamster bandwagon. At that point, I was determined to learn all I could about caring for these adorable pets. Read more