What is a rabbit sleep schedule?
How to Make Your Rabbit Sleep at Night?
Is your pet rabbit causing trouble by staying up all night? Are you in search of easy ways to make your rabbit sleep peacefully throughout the night?
Luckily, you’ve landed at the right place!
The reason for your pet rabbit’s behavior could be his sleep pattern. Rabbits are known for their irregular sleep patterns.
They are susceptible to light and noise, and if they don’t sleep well, they can quickly get irritated, cranky, and wild.
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10 Ways to Get Your Rabbit to Sleep at Night
Let’s look at ten ways in which you can help your rabbit sleep well during the night:
Dim the Lights in Your Rabbit’s Room
If you have a habit of keeping the lights on after your rabbit’s bedtime, please change it!
Rabbits are sensitive to light and will not be able to sleep when lights are on.
Like humans and most pets, rabbits need a dark environment, so their bodies release the sleep hormone.
A rabbit’s eyes are also susceptible to light, especially blue and green lights.
A few minutes before bedtime, turn off all lamps, bulbs, and LEDs to make your rabbit ready for sleep.
Unless you’re someone who wakes up at the crack of dawn, make sure you keep your windows curtained.
This will prevent the sunlight from coming in and disturbing your rabbit’s sleep.
2. Make Sure Your Rabbit’s Room Is Quiet
Like their eyes, rabbits’ ears are also highly sensitive.
Even a pin drop on the floor can alert or startle them. They can hear noises from a great distance which can cause them to lose precious hours of sleep.
Rabbits have a hearing range between 360 Hz and 42,000 Hz. This is almost double the range of humans.
Therefore, they find it hard to cancel noise, which makes them irritated, causing them to stay awake.
If your rabbit sleeps with you in your bedroom, please be extra careful with noises at night.
Try not to wake up your rabbit; otherwise, it would be hard for it to fall back to sleep.
3. Give Your Rabbit Enough Space to Sleep
Do you keep your rabbit in a small cage? Less space is probably what’s making it uncomfortable and causing it to lose sleep at night.
Being in a cage is hard for rabbits as they love to dig.
A small space that does not allow them to dig freely can make them frustrated and keep them awake during the night.
If you want to keep your pet rabbit in a cage, make sure it has at least 24 square feet of running space so it can move around, exercise, and play with toys.
If you do not fulfill your rabbit’s energy potential, it might get irritated and bored and hence, stay awake all night.
4. Provide Quiet Toys to Your Rabbit.
If your rabbit’s sleeping habits are messed up, it could mean that it is just bored.
Consider giving some quiet toys to your rabbit so it can kill boredom during the night.
Giving toys to your rabbit will ensure that they don’t disturb you by making noises at night while you’re sleeping.
Killing their boredom is one of the best solutions for controlling their sleep patterns.
5. Ensure Your Rabbit Feels Safe
Some rabbits are also unable to sleep at night because they feel unsafe or mentally stressed.
If you have any other pets in the house, chances are your rabbit might feel unsafe in their presence when the night falls.
When rabbits feel scared of other animals or the environment, they start acting strange.
The best thing to do is keep other pets and all potential dangers away from your rabbit’s room.
Sometimes, it is inevitable to keep rabbits in a room with other pets. If this is the case, make sure you enclose your rabbit’s cage with a blanket to cover its view sight.
6. Engage Your Rabbit in Activities before Bedtime
Engaging your rabbit in activities right before bedtime is one of the oldest tricks in the books. This is one thing parents have been using for centuries to make their young ones go to sleep.
As a pet owner, you should try to play with your rabbits before bedtime so they eventually feel tired.
When they do, they are more likely to sleep soundly throughout the night because of exhaustion.
The best time to play with your rabbits is in the evening so that they go to bed at the same time as you do.
7. Ensure Your Rabbit’s Bed Is Comfortable
Like humans and several other animals, rabbits also need a comfortable spot to sleep in.
Since rabbits are very soft and have delicate bodies, ensure that their beds are just as light and soft.
When creating a bed for your rabbit, avoid using paper bags or simple cushions. Your rabbit will remain uncomfortable throughout the night if you use these items.
Instead, get your pet a comfortable bunny bed that fits your budget and stuff it with hay!
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8. Let Your Rabbit Eat Enough Hay
Hay is an essential part of a rabbit’s diet.
One of the best ways to prevent boredom at night is to serve fresh and soft hay to your rabbit.
It is good for a rabbit’s digestive system and can reduce gastrointestinal problems that can cause a lack of sleep.
9. Let Your Rabbit Socialize
Rabbits are highly friendly pets. They love playing with their owners in their free time and enjoy toys that provide mental stimulation and exercise.
Make sure you are fulfilling all your rabbit’s social desires before it hits the hay.
If you don’t, it might wake you up in the middle of the night to get attention.
10. Ignore Your Rabbit’s Thumping
Rabbits sometimes thump to get attention when they are bored or when their social desires aren’t fulfilled.
Sometimes, it is okay to calm them down when they feel scared and unsafe.
However, if your rabbit keeps thumping and making loud noises during the night for no apparent reason, it is best to ignore it for its own good.
If you give it attention, it won’t sleep till morning.
An interesting fact about rabbits is that they can sleep at any time of the day. They don’t need special night hours or daytime naps. They are just sensitive to light and noise. Their sleep gets easily disturbed, and hence, they stay awake all day long, which makes them irritated.
Why Don’t Rabbits Sleep?
The list of reasons why rabbits cannot sleep is not long and not difficult to understand.
Common problems related to bunnies not sleeping are often related to noise disturbance daylight irritation. If you can control these two facts, then you have solved almost all of the sleeping issues.
Other problems like the place, bed, any illness, bowel disturbance, and others like such can be treated medically or through thorough thinking.
In case your little furry bunny is unable to sleep, see if any of the following reasons is causing it.
- Your rabbit might be feeling unsafe or uncomfortable. You need to provide a small and secure bed so it can sleep well during the night. If it doesn’t feel protected from predators, it will stay up all night.
- Rabbits are crepuscular (most active during dusk and dawn) animals. They have small eyes that are sensitive to blue and green light. Too much light might be the reason behind your rabbit’s insomnia.
- If your rabbit’s room has night lights, a TV, or other light sources, your rabbit is highly likely to get hyped up, so make sure you make it dark, so your bunny feels safe at all times.
- If your rabbit usually sleeps soundly through the night but has started staying awake recently, it might be because it’s not feeling good. A rabbit will be unable to sleep at night when it is sick or not feeling well.
- Digestive issues such as a bloated abdomen, bowel disturbance, and abdominal pain can make your rabbit feel irritated and uncomfortable, thus preventing it from sleep peacefully at night.
Not sleeping or sleeping at the wrong times is a sign of illness or stress.
According to a study conducted by the Dental Research Journal, rabbits in pain often have difficulty falling asleep.
How to Tell If Your Rabbit Is Asleep
Since most rabbits sleep with their eyes open, it can be hard to tell when a rabbit is asleep. An awake and alert rabbit can look quite similar to a rabbit sleeping deeply.
You might think you’ve never seen your rabbit sleep before, but you probably have without actually recognizing it.
Luckily, there are several signs that you can look out for to tell if your rabbit is sleeping. These include:
- Slow breathing: If you observe your rabbit closely, you will notice that its breathing rate drops while it is asleep.
- Dreaming: When rabbits dream, they might twitch their ears, legs, eyelids, mouths, or tails erratically. Don’t worry – this means they are deeply asleep.
- Snoring: Not all rabbits have a habit of snoring while sleeping, but many do. They like to make grunting or rasping noises when they’re asleep.
- Nose not twitching: When a rabbit is alert, it will twitch its nose. During sleep, rabbits usually don’t twitch their noses.
- Relaxed ears: If your rabbit’s ears are sticking upright, it means your rabbit is alert and awake, but if they are relaxed and lie against its head, it is most likely asleep.
Some Common FAQs About Rabbit Sleep Habbits
How can I calm my rabbit down at night?
One thing you can try is to provide your rabbit with a comfortable place to sleep.
A dark and quiet corner in a room without a lot of noise or activity will likely work best.
You might also want to consider getting your rabbit a hutch that’s specifically designed for indoor use.
One way to calm your rabbit down at night is to try a different diet. Some rabbits do well with a diet of mostly hay and a small number of vegetables, while others may need more variety in their diet.
You could also try offering your rabbit a treat before bedtime, like a piece of fruit or some fresh vegetables.
Another way to help your rabbit calm down at night is by establishing a nighttime routine. One thing you can do is dim the lights in the house so it’s not as bright.
You can also try playing soft music or reading to your rabbit before bedtime. And finally, make sure your rabbit has plenty of toys to play with during the day so he won’t get bored at night.
Can I sleep with my rabbit?
Sleeping with your rabbit is not recommended. Rabbits are prey animals and when they feel threatened or scared, their instinct is to freeze.
If you roll over on your rabbit in your sleep, it could cause serious injury or even death.
In addition, rabbits need a lot of exercise and plenty of time outside of their cages to run around and play. Rabbits are crepuscular animals, which means that they are active at night. So sleeping with your rabbit may not be the best idea.
Having said that, if you strongly feel this is a good idea, go ahead and try it out. Every rabbit is different, so there is a possibility that your rabbit may like sleeping with you.
Should I cover my bunny’s cage at night?
Some people feel that covering the cage helps keep the bunny calm and relaxed, while others believe that leaving the cage uncovered allows the bunny to get more exercise and playtime.
You don’t need to cover your bunny cage unless you have a specific reason for doing it (such as keeping them warm or keeping them away from other pets in your house.
Whether you bring a rabbit home from the wild or a care facility, you’ll need to ensure proper upbringing.
Rabbits need and a whole lot of care and love, sometimes more than other pets.
If you want to make your rabbit sleep at night, then all you need to do is ensure you provide a dark and noise-free environment so your rabbit can sleep peacefully.
Other articles you may also like:
- Do Rabbits Like Car Rides?
- Are Bananas Good for Rabbits?
- Can Rabbits Live Alone Happily?
- Why Does My Rabbit Shake When I Hold Him?
- How to Dispose of Dead Rabbit in Yard?
- Why is my rabbit breathing fast?
- Can you Train a Rabbit to Use a Litter Box?
- How Often Should You Cut Rabbit Nails?
- What do Rabbits Symbolize in Dreams?
- Can You Use Newspaper for Rabbit Bedding?
- Where Do Rabbits Sleep In the Wild?
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How Do You Know When a Rabbit is Sleeping?
Since adequate sleep is just as important to rabbits as it is to humans, you may be wondering how to tell when a rabbit is sleeping. In this article, we’ll be exploring the ins and outs of rabbit sleep patterns and behaviors, so that you can do everything necessary to help them get their beauty rest.
Do Rabbits Close Their Eyes When They Sleep?
Did you know that rabbits have a “third eyelid”? Yes, these so-called nictitating membranes are totally clear and serve to keep their eyes moist even when they appear to be fully open.
This evolutionary adaptation means that rabbits can sleep with their eyes open, making them more sensitive to changes in light and movement even when sleeping. This way, they can tell if a predator is approaching – even while they take their afternoon nap!
Only when a rabbit feels extremely comfortable and safe in its environment will it completely close its outer eyelids, as well. If you’ve never seen your bunny napping with its eyes completely closed, this isn’t cause for alarm; even the most well-meaning of owners can frighten their rabbits with noises or sudden movements.
Where do Rabbits Sleep?
When kept as house pets, rabbits tend to sleep just about anywhere they please! Found in the wild, rabbits will tend to congregate in dug-out shelters known as burrows, where they are better protected from predators.
If you’d like to give your rabbit a safe and comfortable place to sleep in your home, try to make it more like a burrow: Somewhat dark, slightly tucked away, and with plenty of soft bedding. This will encourage them to regularly go to bed at the same hour, and keep a healthy sleep schedule.
How Much do Rabbits Sleep?
A National Geographic study from their July 2011 issue titled “40 Winks?” estimated that rabbits need around 8.4 hours of sleep per day. With this number being so similar to humans, it’s easy to think that you could go to bed and wake up around the same time together – but you’ll find that rabbits have a much different sleep schedule than humans, as detailed in the next section.
When do Rabbits Sleep?
As opposed to nocturnal animals (such as owls) and diurnal animals (such as humans), rabbits are crepuscular. This means that rabbits are often most active around dawn and twilight, and get their sleep in two blocks of time: From late morning until early evening, and also in the middle of the night.
This odd sleep cycle may be an evolutionary adaptation to the rabbit’s status as a prey animal. Because visibility is lowest for predators around dawn and twilight, rabbits are safest to eat and move around at these times. Even though rabbits have been domesticated for centuries, this protective mechanism is still found in every breed.
4 Ways to Tell if Your Rabbit is Really Asleep
Because adequate sleep is so essential to a rabbit’s health, keeping a watchful eye on their sleeping habits and patterns can clue you in to any potential sickness or general distress. That’s why it’s so important to be able to tell whether your rabbit is asleep! Look for these sure signs that they’ve dozed off into dreamland:
- Their breathing will slow down. On most rabbits, you can see the expansion of their lungs and stomach when they breathe.
- They completely stop moving. This means even their constantly twitching noses will settle down.
- Assuming one of the most common sleeping positions (listed below).
- Flat, relaxed ears show that your rabbit is either asleep or fast on their way towards being so.
Of course, it should go without saying that if you’re wondering whether your rabbit is asleep, please don’t bother them! Poking, prodding, or otherwise trying to get their attention when they seem to be at ease is a sure way to end up with a grumpy bun.
Common Sleeping Positions
Like humans, rabbits have favorite sleeping positions that reduce the stress on their muscles and joints. If you’re lucky enough to see your rabbit in one of the following two positions, you can rest assured that they feel safe and comfortable around you.
Tucking their front legs underneath a fluffy chest, your rabbit will then lay its ears back along its spine. Properly executed, your rabbit will look entirely like a fluffier version of a bread loaf.
Often preceded by a round of intense faux digging at the floor, your rabbit may proceed to throw all four legs out to one side in a tremendous flop. If you’ve never seen this happen, take heart: It can sometimes take upwards of a year for rabbits to feel comfortable enough with their owners to sleep while flopped.
With all their evolutionary adaptations, rabbits are unique and wonderful creatures indeed. Though their sleeping habits can cause confusion for novice and experienced rabbit owners alike, with a little practice you’ll soon be able to tell when your rabbit is feeling relaxed enough around you to sleep freely. Thanks for reading, and we wish you many bunny flops in your future!
Featured Image: Shaojie on Unsplash
Lead Pet Expert & Pet-ditor in Chief
Nicole is the proud mom of 3 rescue fur babies, Baby, a Burmese cat; Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway; and Mac, a Lab/Mastiff. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband and new baby daughter in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ know ledge with pet lovers across the globe. . Read more