Guinea pigs have different sleeping patterns comparing to humans. When you make a decision to bring a pet to your home, it’s important to know everything about his sleeping habits.
Guinea pigs are crepuscular which means that they are most active at twilight hours. They need very few hours of sleep ( around 4 hours in total) and they will take several short naps during both day and night.
No matter piggies’ sleep is rather short, it’s crucial to get enough of it. Piggies like a secure place in which they can relax and sleep, as scared piggy will constantly make noise seeking attention and comfort.
If you keep reading our article you will find out pretty much everything about guinea pig’s sleeping habits, where and how they like to sleep, can you help your pet when it comes to sleeping, how not to disturb your piggy while sleeping…
Do Guinea Pigs Sleep With Open Or Closed Eyes?
Although guinea pigs have eyelids you will hardly ever see them, as piggies usually keep their eyes wide open, even when they sleep.
Guinea pigs are prey animals and they have to be always aware of their environment and potential threats. In nature, predators are always around them so even when they sleep, they have to be very careful.
If you ever notice that your guinea pig closes his eyes when he sleeps, take this as a great compliment, as that means that your pet is super relaxed in his cage and your vicinity.
Let me say a few words about piggy’s eyesight. They have so-called ”telescopic” vision, which means that they are able to see 340 degrees. This characteristic allows them to see predators coming in any direction including the sky.
Their depth perception is not very advanced. If they are not on the floor but on some surface, they won’t see the edge and easily can fall off.
Guinea pigs don’t see things in a lot of detail but according to some researchers, they can see colors the same as we can.
Do Guinea Pigs Like To Sleep In Dark?
Guinea pigs like to sleep in dark. Although they sleep in short intervals, sometimes only 3-5 minutes, they will feel much more secure in a dark and quiet place so maybe they will sleep even longer than that.
Back to piggies’ eyesight – it seems that guinea pigs don’t see anything in the dark but fortunately they have a very sharp sense of hearing and smell which helps them to navigate in the dark.
If we add the fact that they have a remarkable memory, they can remember any tunnel, passage, or pathway, it’s more then clear that even if they cannot see in the dark, they are perfectly capable to move around.
Related to this topic, many people have doubts whether they should cover the cage/habitat at night or not. Well, that depends on many factors :
If the cage isn’t located in a dark place – guinea pigs like to sleep in the dark so you should provide a quiet and dark place for sleeping during the night.
If you have very anxious and active guinea pigs – many owners reported that covering the cage during the night helped their very active piggies to calm down and fall asleep. Darkness simply helped them to sleep better.
If you have kids or other pets moving around – guinea pigs need a quiet place to sleep so if you have kids or other bigger pets that are moving around the cage which might disturb a good nap of your piggies, you should cover the cage and provide a stress-free environment for your cavies.
If it’s too cold – this is another reason why some people cover the cage during the night. Cover can provide a certain level of insulation but you should also keep the windows and doors closed, provide soft fabric tunnels where piggies can snuggle in, and also put some cozy houses or hideouts in the cage in which piggies can crawl in.
However, you should never cover the whole cage as this would prevent proper airflow and affect piggies’ breathing. Always cover only part of it.
Pick some cover which is easy to clean and which strong and made of quality material. Note that guinea pigs might try to chew on as they will certainly not sleep for the whole night.
Even though guinea pigs like to sleep in the dark ( and we know that they have short naps during day and night), you shouldn’t put the cage in a dark place without natural light.
Piggies have to live in a cage where they will be able to see normal sunlight. If you do cover their cage during the night, remove the cover in the morning.
Where Do Guinea Pigs Like To Sleep?
Even if you speak with a great number of guinea pigs’ owners you will always hear a new story about where their piggies like to sleep. One thing is certain – they all like cozy and secure places. But that’s quite normal and expected.
Some piggies like to take the hay out of the hay rack and make their own ”beds” and to crawl in.
Others prefer to snuggle in some soft fabric tunnel or cozy house. Some guinea pigs have their own cave beds.
While some piggies will always sleep at the same place, others will gladly choose a different one every day.
No matter they are very social creatures and they like to have company, when it comes to sleeping, piggies like their own sleeping space. So you will hardly ever see your piggies sleeping together. But many of them like to ”hug” a stuffed animal for sweeter dreams.
Can My Guinea Pig Sleep With Me?
This is not such a great idea for several reasons.
First of all, piggies don’t sleep the whole night and I hope you do, so they will be out of control in your bed from which they can fall off ( remember the story about their eyesight and bad depth perception ).
Moreover, they can run away and end up hurt. Even if they don’t run away, but stay in the bed they can be very noisy and disturb your sleep.
If you have other pets, especially predator-type pets such as dogs or cats, piggy that sleeps in your bed are not protected at all, if other pets have access to your room as well.
Another reason is that you are much larger than your guinea pig and you can simply crush him unintentionally while sleeping.
I also need to mention that capacity of piggy’s bladder and intestines is very small, so your pet will pee and poop several times in few hours and if he is not potty trained ( most of them are not ) you will end up in soiled sheets.
How Many Hours Do Guinea Pigs Sleep?
These fellows are pretty active and you will surely notice they sleep very little. They need about 4-6 hours of sleep during both day and night. They hardly ever sleep longer than 10 min at once so their sleep is divided into several naps.
Every living being needs good sleep, guinea pigs are not an exception. But most creatures either sleep during the night ( diurnal animals ) or during the day ( nocturnal animals ).
Guinea pigs nap very often but for a very short time. Why? They cannot allow themselves to fall into deep and long sleep as they need to check if the environment is completely safe.
That is why they sleep for 3-6 min and if they are super relaxed, they can keep dreaming for a max of 10 minutes.
In the wild, guinea pigs have a lot of things to do – they look for food, socialize with other piggies from the same herd, mate, do grooming, take care of their babies, burrow, etc.
In captivity, they don’t have so much work to do but still, their instincts keep them awake.
How Can I Make My Guinea Pig Sleep?
You will help your guinea pig to sleep better if you provide a cozy and soft environment for that. Piggies love soft bedding, cozy hideouts so they can relax and sleep.
Also piggies like a routine. Try to make them ”go to bed” every night at the same time. After a few days, when you put a cover over the cage and turn off the light, they will know that’s a ”good night” time.
Piggies tend to be more sleepy after they eat, so establish some kind of evening snack. That can be a pile of hay plus some nice veggies. They will have something to focus on after which they will full and ready to get rest for some time.
After you have announced ” a good night” time try not to make any noise around the cage. Piggies need some time to relax.
Think about the noise in general. Piggies like to be in the busy area of the house, as they like to interact with people they live with.
But if the noise is overwhelming during the day, on regular basis, the piggies may never leave the ”danger mode” and as a result, they never get enough sleep.
Does Music Relax Guinea Pigs?
Yes, some music genres might be quite relaxing to your guinea pigs. Of course, every guinea pig has its own personality and taste, but in general nice and soothing tones will calm your furry friends.
Just be aware that loud music with high-pitched tones, that imitates other animal sounds might be harmful to your piggies. If they are exposed to loud music on daily basis, after some time, their inner ear might be damaged.
The good thing about the inner ear is that is at least partially reversible. Bottom line is that very loud noises including music can seriously damage your piggy’s sense of hearing.
There is plenty of options online regarding calming music for guinea pigs. Pick the one and watch for your piggies’ reaction. This type of music is not the only one you can try with. You can also put some classical music or any other type of music which has soothing and calming tones.
What If My Guinea Pig Sleeps Too Much?
Totally opposite to a normal sleeping pattern, there are piggies that sleep too much. That means you see your furry friends being inactive and lazy for most of the day.
If you notice that, bear in mind that something is wrong.
Small living space may influence your piggies and make them depressed. Lonely piggy ( if you have just one critter ) may also spend several hours of sleeping a day as he is very bored and depressed.
Bored piggies that don’t have any entertainment or stimulation in the cage ( toys, their friends ) tend to sleep more. If you are interested in this topic, do read our article ”How To Keep My Guinea Pig Happy And Entertained”
Sick piggies affected by some virus or bacteria will express lethargy.
In guinea pigs that experience vitamin C deficiency, you will also see a lack of energy. If they don’t take sufficient amounts of this vitamin, they could feel joint and muscle pain.
Older guinea pigs naturally sleep more then younger ones.
Guinea pigs are very busy fellows. They don’t have much time for sleep, though good sleep is essential for their well-being. They tend to sleep 4-6 hours, not in one piece but in multiple short naps during both day and night.
A cozy, soft, and relaxing environment is crucial for them to sleep better. Although they usually sleep with open eyes they still can get rest if you provide a pleasant and comfortable place where they will crawl in and feel secure.
If your piggies eat high-quality food rich in fibers and vitamin C, if they are properly stimulated and not lonely or depressed, it’s more likely they will have better sleep.
Avoid any loud noises around your pets and let them listen to some nice and soothing music to relax and sleep better. Establish a routine and take care of their health. With all this, you will help them to rest and have a quality sleep.