Do guinea pigs have a sleep schedule? Sleep Behaviors & Patterns

  • Author: Carl
  • Time to read: 5 min.

When it comes to getting some shut-eye, guinea pigs have very different sleep behaviors and patterns compared to other animals. Let’s see what they are and how you can help them get the best sleep possible.

Guinea pigs have a very scattered sleep pattern often sleeping several times a day for short periods of time. On average a guinea pig sleeps 4-5 hours a day in total. They take regular short 15-30 minutes naps throughout the day and night.

What do guinea pigs like to sleep in?

Firstly, let’s talk about bedding. To maximize your guinea pigs’ comfort, always think about bedding as a series of layers. Overall, you want bedding that provides comfort but also absorbs urine effectively.

Start with something soft right at the bottom to act as a comfortable foundation. In the middle, it’s good to have some kind of absorbent material to remove excess moisture from the bedding.

For the top layer, guinea pigs love sleeping on fleece material or shredded newspapers. Check out the fleeces we love here!

Whatever it is, don’t use pine or cedar chips because they’re problematic for guinea pigs.

How often should I change guinea pig bedding?

For starters, you need to inspect your guinea pig’s bedding every day. You must change soiled bits on a daily basis. However, you only need to change and freshen up the entire bedding once a week at a minimum.

Of course, some guinea pig parents go above and beyond by changing them more than once a week, but that’s entirely up to you.

We recommend Kaytee Guinea Pig bedding from Amazon as it’s an affordable product that works really well. It stops excess urine smells and is easy to replace.

Guinea pig sleeping
Provide a warm and cosy place for you Guinea Pig to sleep

How long do guinea pigs sleep?

Some people feel that guinea pigs never sleep because of how active they are. Others may claim that all the guinea pigs do is sleep all day. To some extent, both are right.

You see, guinea pigs only sleep for about four hours in total every day. However, their sleep patterns are scattered all throughout the day and night. Quite often, you’ll only catch them sleeping for about ten minutes at a time. 

It’s safe to think of guinea pigs as napping creatures, rather than those that sleep for long stretches of time.

Are guinea pigs nocturnal?

Guinea pigs are neither nocturnal nor the opposite, ‘diurnal’. As mentioned above, guinea pigs have very scattered sleeping patterns that consist of short naps.

They don’t sleep long periods through the day or the night. So, if you see them running about late at night, don’t worry! 

They probably just woke up from a nap, and they’ll be heading for another one very soon.

How do I get my guinea pig to sleep at night?

If your guinea pig’s cage is in your bedroom, then you might get annoyed when they get active and noisy at night. Don’t worry, though. There are ways to get your guinea pig to sleep at night.

Here’s one tactic: use snacks. That’s right! Feed them some snacks like fresh vegetables right before your bedtime. You’ll notice that your guinea pig will focus on eating those snacks instead of running around and making noise.

Plus, once the guinea pig has finished eating, it’ll be too full to run around and make noise for a while. That should keep them asleep or at least less active while you enjoy a good night’s rest.

Do guinea pigs sleep more in winter?

Yes, guinea pigs do sleep more in the winter. As temperatures drop, guinea pigs sleep much longer than their usual brief naps. That’s because they’re trying to avoid using up energy while also keeping themselves warm.

When this happens, people often assume that they’re lifeless. That’s not the case! They’re just enjoying a really deep sleep.

However, you should continue to check up on them often. It’s essential to make sure that the guinea pig has a chance to stay warm. If their temperatures drop too low, it could cause them other health problems!

What temperature is ideal for guinea pigs to sleep in?

Guinea pigs will sleep easy in room temperatures of around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. While warmth is good, it’s important not to give them too much heat either.

So, keep their cages away from any direct sources of heat like windows with direct sunlight, stoves or kettles, fireplaces and the like.

To make it much easier to monitor the temperature around the guinea pig, you can install a cheap thermometer right on the cage itself.

That way, you can always be sure that your guinea pig is sitting comfortably at its ideal temperature.

guinea pig sleeping
Guinea Pigs love to sleep somewhere warm, dry and cosy

How cold is too cold for guinea pigs when sleeping?

Generally, temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit are too low for guinea pigs. Not only will they feel uncomfortably cold while sleeping, but they could also develop health problems like respiratory infections.

Read our article about Guinea Pigs catching colds here.

How do I keep my guinea pig warm while sleeping?

During the winter months or when it’s too cold out, it’s essential to keep your guinea pig warm so they can sleep well. Again, the ideal temperature that you should aim for is anywhere between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

For starters, you should prepare more places for the guinea pig to sleep and warm itself up. Browse your local pet store or shop online for a guinea pig condo or hideout that you can put inside the cage.

They’ll love those as a place to sleep and stay warm at the same time!

As another option, you could also buy heating pads specially-designed for guinea pigs. 

Those pads are reusable, and you can reheat them in the microwave whenever you want. Then, you can place them within the layers of bedding to give your guinea pig a nice and warm bed to sleep on.

Why is my guinea pig sleeping so much?

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much sleep. That’s especially true when it comes to guinea pigs, which as we already know, typically take short naps instead of sleeping long hours. Sometimes, lethargy or excessive sleep is a sign that your guinea pig is feeling unwell.

First, check to make sure that the temperatures around the cage aren’t too high or too low. Then, check to make sure that your guinea pig is eating and drinking as it usually does.

If anything is out of the ordinary, you must take your guinea pig to the vet for a full check-up. Just like us, guinea pigs do fall sick from time to time and require medical attention.

How much do guinea pigs sleep

Guinea Pig Bedding & Fleeces

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Last updated on December 5, 2021 02:39

Final thoughts

Taking good care of a beloved guinea pig goes well beyond just what we give them to eat and drink. Sleep is often an overlooked part of that care as well. Once you’ve given your guinea pigs a chance to at good sleep, you’ll have a much happier, healthier guinea pig overall.