Tiny, cute, and a bit scaly, geckos are the friendly and non-threatening cousins of lizards.
Many people worldwide love having geckos as pets, as they’re generally friendly, and their faces appear as if smiling!
However, geckos’ sleeping patterns and habits can be a tad confusing for new owners. One of the first questions that pop into their minds is: How do geckos sleep?
This is usually followed by what makes geckos comfortable and how long they should sleep. Of course, these many questions can feel overwhelming—we don’t blame you!
So, our guide here will help you understand your gecko just a little bit better. Let’s start!
The first thing you need to know is that not all geckos are the same. For example, some geckos are naturally nocturnal, like the fat-tailed and crested gecko.
This means they’re active most of the night and spend their day asleep or lounging.
On the other hand, lined and day geckos are diurnal—active during the day and restful at night.
In complete contrast to both these types, some geckos simply love the low light of the twilight and feel energized towards that time.
Put simply, each species is unique. So to understand your gecko’s sleeping patterns, you must first learn its species name.
Still, what most geckos have in common is how they sleep. They love sleeping in a hidden spot, usually under a cover or in a sheltered corner.
This is mainly because geckos are small, defenseless creatures, and, as a result, they’re a favorite prey to various predators—like snakes.
So, in the wild, they hide under tree trunks, leaves, hidden holes, or any rock formation that could protect them. That’s why you must provide them with a similar environment as a gecko parent!
Again, the answer to this question depends on the type of species you got. Some geckos have eyelids, and some don’t!
Hence, not all geckos close their eyes when they sleep.
The geckos without eyelids simply constrict their pupils as much as possible to prevent any light from entering their eyes.
While it may be alarming to see your gecko sleeping with his eyes open, fret not, you don’t need to do anything besides ensure the enclosure is clean.
Lid-less geckos actually have a clear scale over each eye that they shed anew with the rest of their body when it’s time to do so.
This cover prevents dust and dirt from entering the eye, and the geck keeps it clean by using his long tongue to remove any foreign object that gets in.
However, if the enclosure isn’t clean and something gets stuck to this clear lid, it can seriously damage their vision.
Some of the most popular geckos that lack eyelids include the following:
- Crested geckos
- Mediterranean house geckos
- Yellow-headed day geckos
- White-lined geckos
- Gargoyle geckos
- Golden geckos
Sadly for us, understanding what happens in sleeping geckos’ minds isn’t as simple as just asking them. A little gecko could be dreaming of being the king of the jungle for all we know!
However, a few scientists back in the day asked this exact question and came up with a few surprising observations. So now, you’ll need to buckle up, as this could get a little science-y!
Most creatures in the animal kingdom share a similar sleeping program. That is, we doze off, and our bodies replenish our energy and regulate hormones and metabolism levels.
During our sleep, we transition between two main phases, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
Mind you, the latter one is more complex and is where we experience our dreams.
The NREM phase is usually divided into three stages, the final one of which is called slow-wave sleep (SWS). The SWS and REM sleep were long thought to be unique to mammals and birds.
Yet, the study these scientists published concludes that certain lizard species enter sleep stages similar to the SWS and REM sleep.
This could mean a lot of things in the lizard world! For example, it could mean that they dream just like us or that they experience a different kind of sleep.
Regardless, we hope our little scaly friends are having a goodnight’s or morning’s sleep!
This is one of the most popular questions regarding geckos, and it’s no wonder why! Most geckos sleep for about 10–12 hours on average!
As a result, new gecko owners often worry their gecko is sick or that there’s something wrong. Fortunately, though, there’s a big chance your gecko has nothing wrong.
He just needs his beauty sleep for a couple of reasons, including the following:
Just like us, geckos need their sleep to help regulate all the different functions and hormones in their bodies.
This ensures that they stay healthy by keeping their immune system strong and fighting off any infections or bacteria.
One thing about geckos you need to remember is that they’re originally from a pretty wild place. They were afraid of many predators and survived by hunting for food, which was sometimes scarce.
Therefore, their bodies became programmed to help them conserve and rebuild their energy, which is one of the reasons they sleep so much.
Did you know that geckos have memories? It’s true!
Geckos can remember certain things for days and sometimes even months! It could be a new trick they learned or a hiding spot where they can sleep safely.
Regardless, their cognitive abilities can take a hit if they don’t sleep properly. This isn’t to say that they’ll lose their memories, but they simply won’t be as sharp because of the lack of sleep.
As mentioned above, you need to remember that your gecko will sleep much more than you. Again, he can sleep up to 12 hours.
Nonetheless, if you think your gecko is sleeping a bit more than usual, you can take a look at the following reasons why this might be the case:
Being stressed can do a lot of damage to your gecko’s sleeping schedule, just like it can affect yours. It can leave your gecko feeling anxious, leading to extra sleeping hours.
Some of the most popular stressors include:
- Unsuitable lighting: Too much artificial light can affect your gecko’s sleep. Plus, insufficient exposure to natural light can do the same.
- Sudden environment changes: Things like sudden noises, constant light flashes, and temperature fluctuations can stress your gecko out.
- Over-handling: While we know how cute your gecko could be, picking him up too much can also lead to anxiety, which alters the sleeping pattern.
You’ll sometimes notice your gecko preferring a particular meal over another. While that may seem adorable, your role here is to ensure he doesn’t depend only on that food.
Mix and match the foods to guarantee there are enough nutrients in what he’s eating. Moreover, you shouldn’t overfeed your gecko.
Just like humans, they get super lazy and lethargic when they’re too stuffed. Some species, like the leopard gecko, eat once every other day.
So, make sure to learn your gecko’s species and their feeding habits.
If your gecko’s sleeping schedule won’t return to normal even after you’ve fixed all the previous issues, it’s time to check for signs of parasites and diseases.
Both issues strongly affect the immune system and can lead to a multitude of issues besides lethargy. If this is the case here, take your gecko to the vet immediately.
After that, please follow all the instructions as prescribed and make sure to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the little guy.
So, are you still wondering how do geckos sleep? We sure hope not anymore!
Geckos love sleeping in hiding corners and under covers, where they can hide from predators and enjoy a peaceful sleep.
Moreover, they tend to sleep for almost 12 hours and hate to be disturbed! So, make sure to keep your gecko in a clean, quiet area.
Lastly, if your gecko is sleeping with his eyes open, don’t worry! Some geckos don’t have lids and sleep with their eyes wide open.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.