If you are a first-time guinea pig owner, then you might have noticed that your guinea pigs are active every time you peek in to have a look at them. Surely, you might be wondering, do guinea pigs sleep? Even I was amazed by this habit, so I did some research and here is what I found out!
Guinea pigs do sleep. On average, guinea pigs sleep around 4 hours every day, which they do in small laps. Unlike other animals, they usually sleep in short laps of 10-30 minutes. In the night time, they typically nap for a more extended period than during the day.
You might notice that some elder guinea pigs do sleep for more hours than a young one. This is because they are weak and are more used to the environment.
Do guinea pigs sleep at night or day?
Guinea pigs are neither nocturnal nor diurnal animals as many people believe they are.
Nocturnal animals are those who are active during the night and sleeps during the day time.
Whereas diurnal are those who remain active during the day and sleeps at night.
While human beings and many other animals lie in the diurnal category, guinea pigs lie under a particular category known as crepuscular.
Crepuscular animals are those who remain active both day and night.
They are usually most active during the early morning and during sunset time.
If you are not an early morning type of person, then it might be a little troublesome for you.
However, you can easily make your way around these problems very quickly. Here are a few tips which work like a charm:
- Have a separate room for your guinea pigs so that the noises don’t reach you.
- Providing them with quiet toys and chew toys will keep them busy for hours and reduce the noises they make.
- Top up their food and water before sleeping. They do make a lot of noise when they are hungry, so keeping them well fed can be a great way to keep them calm.
- You can alternatively use earplugs to keep noises from reaching you if you have guinea pigs in your bedroom.
Guinea pig sleep schedule: When do guinea pigs sleep?
Guinea pigs have a very bizarre sleeping schedule. Unlike other animals, they usually sleep in small laps of 10-30 minutes.
Guinea pigs are active throughout the day and night. They typically sleep in short laps during the day time and longer laps up to 30 minutes during the night time.
Generally, every individual guinea pigs develop their own sleep cycles. They usually have their sleep cycles designed around their owners. They are more active when their owners are around.
Most of the time, when you peek in to watch them, they will either be gazing at their hay or goofing around other guinea pigs.
They have developed such a bizarre sleep schedule because they are one of the bottom members of the food chain, and they must remain alert most of the time to protect their lives from the predators.
How long do guinea pigs sleep?
Guinea pigs usually sleep around 4 hours in 24 hours cycle. However, they do it in the form of naps of a small interval.
A rest may last anywhere between 2-3 minutes to 8-10 minutes during the day time. In the night time, they usually nap for a more extended range. A nap during the night can last up to 30 minutes in general.
How much sleep does a guinea pig need?
Unlike human beings and other mammals, guinea pigs are not heavy sleepers. While a typical human being requires 6-8 hours of sleep, guinea pigs can do just fine with only 4 hours of sleep.
Guinea pigs usually divide their naps into equal small laps which generally lasts longer during the night and shorter during the day.
However, we might find them always active, which usually makes many people wonder do guinea pigs really sleep?
Do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes open?
Yes, most of the time, you will notice that they sleep with their eyes open.
There are only a few moments when they actually close their eyes and relax completely.
As we had discussed earlier guinea pigs are one such animal that lies at the very bottom of the food chain.
There are lots of predators looking for them out there, so they try to remain active and alert most of the time.
Do guinea pigs sleep with their eyes closed?
Yes, if you can create a comfort zone for them in their enclosure, then you might find them sleeping with their eyes closed sometimes.
Usually, a small cozy hiding space with a layer of hay often does the trick.
How do I know if my guinea pig is sleeping?
If you notice that your guinea pigs are standing entirely still, then they are probably taking a nap. It is quite amazing to watch them nap with their eyes open.
You might also find that they are lying down with their heads down, lie on their side, or burrow them inside their hiding places. That’s a signal that they are taking their nap.
Sometimes you might find that your guinea pig is lying with their eyes closed.
This is a rare moment that can only be achieved when we can provide our guinea pigs with a comfortable environment to live in.
Do guinea pigs sleep in the dark?
Yes, guinea pigs like to sleep in the dark. In a darker environment, guinea pigs feel much more secure; that’s the reason they hide around things when they take a nap.
Guinea pigs also get used to dark as many owners keep then inside their room or nearby where lights usually go off at night.
They don’t have excellent eyesight, but their other senses are quite sharp. That means guinea pigs can see and move around at night as well as they can during the day time.
Do guinea pigs sleep a lot?
It is tough to tell if your guinea pig is taking a nap or not primarily when they lie around with their eye open.
Guinea pigs are very active animals, and most of the time, you will find them moving around, chewing cage bars, hay, or some toys or goofing around their partners.
However, sometimes you might find them sleeping a lot, being lethargic or hiding in the hiding spaces for hours and not coming out.
Although this can be a normal phenomenon for a new guinea pig when introduced in a new enclosure.
But if its something you are noticing with your old piggies then you might want to look into it.
Guinea pigs are great at hiding their sickness for a long time so, it’s good if you look for the early signs itself.
- Lying around the care for several hours throughout the day and night.
- Burrowed in the hiding space for long hours
- not eating their diet as earlier
- Not taking a feeding of treats
- Difficulty in breathing
- Sleeping in unusual positions and breathing heavy
If you find any of the above symptoms in your guinea pigs, then it might be best to visit a vet as soon as possible.
Often, Vitamin C deficiency in their diet is the root cause of lethargy and too much sleeping in guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs Troubled to sleep?
Sometimes you will notice that your guinea pigs are not taking proper rest as they should or you find them awake most of the time.
What could be the reason that is bugging them out?
Why are they having so much trouble feeling relaxed and comfortable? Let’s look into some reasons for the same.
The perfect bedding
Just like we human beings need a perfect bed to have a good night’s sleep, guinea pigs also require good bedding for them to take a good night nap.
Often people make a mistake of using inappropriate bedding materials like pine bedding, cedar bedding, etc. which are uncomfortable and need to be avoided entirely.
Having an excellent soft, moist-free, and high-quality bedding is essential for our guinea pigs.
The best bedding that I would suggest would be using fleece topped with some hay, Carefresh, etc.
Check out our complete guide on perfect bedding for your guinea pigs and which one to buy:
Having a good hiding box for our guinea pigs is equally essential. Guinea pigs are one of the bottom level creatures in the food cycle.
Predators surround them, so they do need a sense of security before they take a nap.
Providing our guinea pigs with a functional hiding space covered with some hay is excellent. They love to burrow in and take a snooze whenever possible.
Improper diet could be another critical aspect of why guinea pigs are getting troubled while sleeping.
Can you sleep when you didn’t have enough food? No right, the same thing applies with guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs do need enough food all the time. As we had discussed earlier, they are active throughout day and night; thus if they don’t have food at night, they might get hungry and start making noises.
The best way to avoid this is to serve them with some vegetables before a few hours of bedtime and right when you are going to sleep put away the leftover vegetables and top up lots of hay and water so that they have something to chew on if they wake up at night.
Not enough of floor time
You might have noticed that when you had a busy day where you were active throughout the day doing something or the other, it is quite easy to fall asleep at night.
The same thing applies to guinea pigs as well.
Guinea pigs are active animals, and they do need a lot of floor time to exercise and play around.
Most guinea pig cages sold by pet shops are not enough for your guinea pigs.
Thus, providing your guinea pigs with enough stimulation throughout the day is really important to ensure they enjoy the sleep.
You might notice your guinea pigs making strange noises or scratching the cage when they don’t get enough stimulation.
Environment around enclosure
Guinea pigs also need a comfortable temperature range so that they don’t feel uneasy and can sleep well.
Just like human beings guinea pigs also enjoy the temperature range of 18°C to 24°C.
Anything colder than that can make them cold, and anything more significant than that can increase the chances of heatstroke.
It is best if you could maintain the environment around their enclosure at this particular temperature range so that they can get a good night’s sleep.
Also, ensure your cage placement is not in such a place where the temperature changes very rapidly.
Guinea pigs don’t respond well to rapid temperature change. It can easily make them feel uneasy and disturb their sleep schedule.
You can learn more about the good environment for guinea pigs from this article by RSPCA.
Can I sleep with my guinea pig?
This might sound a little weird question to ask but I have seen many people asking the same question. So, I went ahead and looked into it.
You can sleep with your guinea pigs, but it is not a good idea to do so. There are a few reasons for the same.
- Guinea pigs do pee and poop several times in a few hours. So, even if you have a potty trained guinea pig chances are you will end up with poop in your bed and maybe over you as well.
- Another main concern is your guinea pig’s safety. If you move around while you are asleep, you might end up hurting or even squishing your guinea pigs very bad which is an essential risk to look out for.
- Guinea pigs are also active during the night. They do need their food and stuff even at night time. So if you sleep with your guinea pigs and they don’t have access to their food and water, then they might make a lot of noises, thus disturbing your sleep.
- One of my other concerns is the allergy and diseases they carry. Guinea pigs are not hypoallergenic animals. They do carry some allergens and illnesses which can be bad for our health.
If you are looking for more information on allergies and diseases from guinea pigs you must read our article on Are guinea pigs hypoallergenic?
You might also consider reading our article on Guinea pigs smell if that is a part of your concerns.
We have also recently written about Can you keep your guinea pigs in your bedroom? Feel free to check it out for more info!
- Do guinea pigs sleep? Yes, Guinea pigs do sleep around 4 hours a day in small laps
- Guinea pigs are neither nocturnal nor diurnal; They actually belong to a particular category called crepuscular which means they remain active both during day and night.
- Guinea pigs have a bizarre sleeping schedule. In general, you will find your guinea pigs always active and moving around because they sleep in tiny laps of 3-10 minutes during the day and up to 30 minutes during the night.
- Most of the time, you will notice that your guinea pig is sleeping with their eyes open. Guinea pigs sleeping with their eyes closed is a rare moment to relish.
- Guinea pigs do prefer a dark environment to sleep. They find themselves a lot more secure when there is complete darkness around their enclosure.
- If you notice that your guinea pig is sleeping more than usual, then you must look for some other irregularities immediately. In case you are unsure about what is happening do visit a vet directly.
- Nicholls, Edith. (1922). A Study of the Spontaneous Activity of the Guinea Pig. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 2. 303-330. 10.1037/h0074475.
- Sleep homeostasis in the guinea pig
- sleep-wakefulness rhythms in the precocial guinea pig
- Sleep and wakefulness modulation