beardie at night

Do Bearded Dragons Need a Light at Night? [Providing Light]

Bearded dragons are diurnal animals, which means they are active during the day and sleep at night. In the wild, they do not come across any light sources at night, so they do not need one in captivity either. It is important to keep their environment as natural as possible, and that means keeping their lights off at night.

Not only is it beneficial for their overall health and wellbeing, but it also helps them to establish a regular and healthy sleep cycle. This is important because sleep deprivation can lead to a range of health issues in bearded dragons.

Why Bearded Dragons Don’t Need Light at Night

Wild Bearded Dragons Don’t Need Light at Night

In the wild, bearded dragons are active during the day and rest at night, just like their counterparts in captivity. Their body temperature drops naturally when the sun goes down, so they don’t need a light source to regulate it.

Light at Night Affects Natural Sleep Cycles

Bearded dragons, like any other pet reptile, have a natural circadian rhythm that tells them when it is time to sleep and wake up. If their light is kept on at night, then it will disrupt their natural sleeping patterns. This can lead to various health problems, from sleep deprivation to digestive issues.

Leaving lights on at night, even if they are red lights, will disturb the sleeping patterns of your bearded dragon and can cause long-term health issues. It is best to turn off all lights at night and let them sleep in complete darkness so they can maintain their natural circadian rhythm.

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They Can Still See in Low Light Conditions

Bearded dragons have excellent vision in low light conditions which enables them watch out for predators. This means that they don’t require any light source in order to see at night, and they can still see the shapes and shadows of their environment.

Bearded dragons also have a specialized adaptation that allows them to detect movement in the dark with their eyes. This is especially helpful for finding food and avoiding predators.

They Can Regulate Body Temperature Without a Light Source

Bearded dragons, like all reptiles, need both heat and light to regulate their body temperature and keep themselves healthy. However, they don’t necessarily need a light source at night to help with body temperature regulation.

While they need heat to stay warm and digest their food properly, they can regulate their body temperature naturally during the night without a light source. In the wild, the temperature drops after dark and bearded dragons can naturally regulate their body temperature without any additional heat or light sources.

What Happens if You Leave Lights on at Night

If you do choose to leave the lights on at night, there are some consequences that can affect your pet’s long-term health. Leaving lights on at night can cause sleep deprivation. This can lead to an increased risk of overheating, digestive issues, and stress. You should also be aware that your pet might not be able to regulate body temperature properly when exposed to light 24/7.

Will Cause Sleep Deprivation

Leaving lights on at night can cause sleep deprivation in bearded dragons, as they need total darkness and cooler temperatures to sleep. This can lead to other complications such as improper hormonal release, increased risk of overheating, digestive issues, and stress.

When a bearded dragon is sleep deprived, it’s important to be aware of the signs. These include decreased appetite, hiding in the shade, and lethargy (we will go into more detail on these signs below). If your bearded dragon is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it’s important to take steps to help them get back on a normal sleep schedule.

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Increased Risk of Overheating

If the lights remain on and the temperature high overnight the bearded dragon will continue to feel as it is exposed to predators and limit the ability to rest. This can result in an increased risk of overheating, which can be very dangerous for your pet.

An overheated bearded dragon can experience dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or even organ failure, all of which can be fatal.

Digestive Issues

Unfortunately, leaving your bearded dragon’s light on overnight can also cause digestive issues. This has to do with an out of sync circadian rhythm. When the circadian rhythm is functioning properly, digestion is great. However, when it’s out of whack, it can cause major issues with digestion.


Stress marks are a common sign of stress. These are usually dark stripes on the back of the reptile that appear after they’ve been exposed to extreme stress. The best thing to do is make note of when the stress marks appeared and if they have an obvious cause (such as leaving a light on).

How to Know if Your Bearded Dragon Is Sleep Deprived

Knowing when your bearded dragon is sleep deprived is important in order to prevent any of the aforementioned health issues. Signs of sleep deprivation include decreased appetite, hiding in the shade, and lethargy.

If your bearded dragon is exhibiting any of these behaviors, it could be a sign that they are not getting enough rest. It is important to monitor their activity and adjust their nighttime lighting accordingly.

Decreased Appetite

If your beardie has been missing meals or showing a decreased appetite, this could be a sign of sleep deprivation. Poor sleep can lead to lack of energy and appetite, which can cause your dragon to avoid meals it would normally enjoy.

To help your dragon get back to its normal eating habits, you may want to try shifting its lighting and temperature schedule to promote healthier sleeping habits.

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Hiding in the Shade

Bearded dragons need a dark environment to sleep in, and leaving any source of light on at night will interfere with their natural circadian rhythm. If you notice your bearded dragon hiding in the shade, they may be looking for a dark place to snooze.


If your bearded dragon is not active or alert during the day, this could be a sign of sleep deprivation. They may also appear to be sluggish and less responsive to their environment. Pay attention to your bearded dragon’s energy levels and watch out for signs of lethargy.

Key Points

  • Bearded dragons do not need a light source at night
  • Wild bearded dragons live their lives in total darkness
  • Leaving lights on at night can cause sleep deprivation, increased risk of overheating, digestive issues, and stress
  • Signs of sleep deprivation include decreased appetite, hiding in the shade, and lethargy
  • To ensure your bearded dragon is getting the rest they need, make sure all lights are turned off before they tuck in for the night