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Should You Wake A Hamster Up? [And How To]

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Are you getting to know your hamster's sleep patterns? Occasionally, we may need to wake our hamsters. Is this safe? We gathered our research to answer if you should wake up your hammie, and if so, how it can be done safely. 

You can wake up a hamster, but you should only do this occasionally to keep stress low. If you do need to wake your hammie, it is important you do it gently, as to not scare them. Safe ways to wake up your hamster include the following:

  • Offer them a treat
  • Talk softly or hum
  • Gently blow on your hamster
  • Alter the environment

We will go on to explain the details of each technique you can use to wake your hamster. Keep reading as we answer what time a hamster should wake up and what happens if a hamster sleeps too much. 

A Syrian hamster sleeping on his hoomans hand, Should You Wake A Hamster Up? [And How To]

How To Wake Up A Hamster

At times, we may need to wake our hamsters to clean the cage, offer food, or another reason. In any case, you should wake your hamster gently to avoid stressing them out and hurting the relationship between you and your pet.  

A Syrian hamster sleeping on a pink colored pillow

Let's take a closer look at the techniques you can use to safely wake up your hamster. 

Offer Them A Treat

Does your hamster have a favorite treat? A pleasant way to wake up your hammie is by offering them this treat.  Hold the treat close enough to allow the smell to wake them.

Vegetable pieces, food pellets, or commercially bought treats can be used in this technique. 

Have a look at these freeze-dried strawberry treats for hamsters here on Amazon.

You can also give their food bowl a gentle shake. The sound of their food pellets can stir them awake, and they have something nice to munch on right away. 

Talk Softly Or Hum

Gently speaking or humming near your hamster is another great way to wake them. Oftentimes, your pet enjoys the sound of your voice and is happy to wake up to you. 

Avoid yelling or creating a noise your pet has not heard before. Loud or bizarre noises will wake your hamster but in a stressful manner. 

Gently Blow On Your Hamster

If your hamster is sleeping with their face exposed, you can gently blow on their face. To avoid startling them, just blow lightly to give their whiskers a tickle. 

You can gradually release more air onto them until they wake. 

Alter The Environment

A hands-off approach to waking your hamster includes altering their environment a bit.

Your hamster's sleep schedule can be affected by light. Make the room they are in dark, and the change in light can cause them to wake up. You can also change the temperature slightly. 

A shadow of a rodent photographed on a dark background

Hamsters sleep more in colder temperatures. Raising the heat a bit in their environment will motivate them to wake up. You can increase the heat by turning up your heat in the house or using a heated lamp. 

Read more on our blog post, "What's The Ideal Room Temperature For A Hamster".

What Not To Do When Waking Up Your Hamster

Waking a hamster should be done with one of the above methods. You can experiment to see which technique your hamster enjoys most. On the other side, there are certain things you absolutely should not do when waking your hamster. 

Hamsters are prey animals, meaning they are typically on high alert and get stressed easily. You should avoid the following when trying to wake up a hamster:

  • Loud, abrupt noises
  • Shaking their enclosure
  • Picking up your hamster
  • Poking your hamster
  • Fast movements towards your pet

Doing any of the above not only stresses or scares your pet but also puts you at risk of getting bit by your hamster. Even after your hamster is awake, you should still move slowly and avoid loud noises around them. 

A hungry Syrian hamster on a white background

Keeping stress low in the environment is always a good thing when it comes to hamster care. Keeping both you and your pet happy and content. 

Is It Bad To Wake Up A Hamster?

You want to avoid waking up your hamster if it is not necessary. Waking up a hamster too often can be bad, as this can cause avoidable stress, ultimately damaging your relationship. 

A stressed hamster has an increased risk of illness and behavioral issues. You may see a lack of energy, appetite, and overall moodiness if you are waking your hamster constantly.

Additionally, extreme amounts of stress can actually shorten the lifespan of your pet. 

Do Hamsters Like To Sleep In The Dark?

Hamsters are nocturnal creatures. This means they are more active and energetic in the dark, and less likely to be sleeping in the night hours. Furthermore, this means they do not need it to be dark to sleep. 

You may be tempted to cover your hamster's cage in the day. This is unnecessary; the change in light aids in their sleep schedule and seeing the light actually promotes sleep. 

A hamster sleeping comfortably inside a knitted sock

On the other hand, too much light can be damaging for your hamster. Specifically, too much artificial light can negatively affect your pet's sleep cycle. An affected sleep cycle can lead to a decline in the physical and mental health of your hammie.

Read more on our blog post, "Do Hamsters Hibernate In Winter? (And What Is Torpor?)"

What Time Should A Hamster Wake Up?

Wake times can vary depending on the individual hamster and their surroundings. However, due to the nocturnal nature of hamsters, they all tend to wake up some time at or after dusk. 

A sleepy Syrian hamster on a pink pillow

The majority of hamsters will wake between the hours of 8 pm and 12 am, and will most likely be asleep again by the time you are waking up.

Their most active time is dawn and dusk, when temperatures are a bit lower. 

If you just brought your hamster home, it can be normal for their sleep schedule to be off at first. As they get used to their new home, they may be on high alert and sensitive to any outside stimulation.

Concerning a new pet, allow them a few days to acclimate to their new environment. Their sleep schedule tends to work itself out once they are more comfortable. 

Is It Bad If My Hamster Sleeps At Night?

No, it isn't bad if your hamster sleeps at night. It is normal for them to sleep part of the night, as they can be crepuscular, or primarily active during twilight. 

On the reverse, it is normal for your hamster to be awake part of the day as well. Even though they are more likely up through the night, and asleep in the day, you will see them up and about during day hours at times. 

A gray sleeping hamster in a knitted blanket

Observe your hamster's normal routine; they will most likely wake and sleep at similar times each day.

If you begin to notice drastic changes in your pet's sleep pattern, this could be bad. 

Changes in sleep patterns can look like excessive sleep, or burrowing. These signs paired with lack of appetite, diarrhea, or coughing and sneezing point to your hamster being ill, and they should be seen by your veterinarian. 

Learn more on our blog post, "Should You Cover Your Hamster's Cage At Night?"

What Happens If Your Hamster Sleeps Too Much?

On average, hamsters require 6-8 hours of sleep per day. These hours get reached through multiple sleep cycles rather than all at once.

A hamster that is sleeping far more than the average may be experiencing a medical or environmental issue. If your hamster is exhibiting other signs of illness, like mentioned above, alongside oversleeping, it is best to get them checked out. 

A hibernating dormouse in his nest

Another aspect to consider when a hamster is sleeping unusually long is hibernation. If temperatures fall, it is possible that your pet will go into a state of hibernation. 

If a hamster is in this state, they may appear asleep or even dead. Their bodies become very limp, their heart rate and breathing slow, and they may feel cold to the touch.

The best step to take in this situation is getting your hamster warm again. 

In Summary

A Syrian hamster sleeping on his hoomans hand, Should You Wake A Hamster Up? [And How To]

In a situation when you have to wake your pet, do so gently and with care. Keep in mind, waking your hammie too often may lead to unnecessary stress. We hope you found this article insightful when it comes to your hamster and their sleep patterns. 

Are you looking for more insights into hamster care? Have a look through our blog post, "37 Hamster Care Tips That Will Take You To The Next Level."

Wendy Soe

Tuesday 12th of April 2022

Hi, we picked up a baby hamster from a litter at the store. The first night it was very active but it has not come out during the day at all and even at night. I am not sure if it's healthy. It's been eating the food we put in the bowl and was using the sand bowl to pee. It messed up its bedding. How soon will we be able to see it becomes more active?