Some of the most commonly asked questions about pet hamsters are about the hamster sleep cycle.
“Are hamsters nocturnal?”
“Will a hamster keep me up at night?”
“Do hamsters sleep only during the day?”
These are important questions to ask when thinking about buying a hamster.
Hamsters are Nocturnal
Nocturnal. Active at night.
Hamsters are indeed nocturnal creatures. In the wild, hamsters forage for food at night and sleep during the day.
They do this for better protection from predators. Although your pet hamster does not have to worry about predators (unless you own an ambitious cat), it will still follow its natural instincts and go about its hamster business all night.
Your hamster’s individual sleep cycle may vary, but most domestic hamsters have a brief active period during the day. Usually this happens right around mid-day. After that, most hamsters will sleep until the late evening.
Anyone who has placed a hamster cage too close to their own beds knows first-hand that night time is a pet hamster’s favorite time to eat, dig, and run on its wheel.
Take care to protect your own natural sleep cycle! Try not to put your hamster’s cage in the same room you sleep in. It’s tempting to put a hamster in a bedroom, but a better place would be somewhere uninhabited at night. For example, the living room or a spare room.
Can Hamsters Be Trained Out of Day Sleeping?
Some owners claim that they can train their hamsters out of their nocturnal ways. In reality, however, this goes against a hamster’s wild nature. It may be harmful to your hamster’s health.
Think about it this way. Human beings can shift their sleep cycles to be nocturnal. People who work consistent night shifts do this regularly. However, people also tend to suffer health concerns when they don’t see the sun for long periods. A person may suffer a vitamin D deficiency or depression.
People are built to be active during the day. Hamsters are built for the night.
Instead of trying to make a hamster sleep cycle conform to your own, hamster owners should take advantage of a hamster’s natural daytime wake periods for play and companionship.
This way, you still get to interact with your hamster, but you won’t be kept up all night.