Why Does My Tortoise Sleep All Day: Understanding Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern

Some tortoise species are also crepuscular animals meaning they are most active during cooler parts of the day. So you don’t have to be concerned as long as your tortoise is healthy and active during dusk and dawn. However, you need to understand their sleeping habits more so you’ll get noticed immediately if something wrong happens, so you don’t need to ask yourself like “why does my tortoise sleep all day?”.

Why Does My Tortoise Sleep All Day: Understanding Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern
Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern

One of the tortoise’s natural habits is to sleep for an extended period of time every day. Tortoises generally sleep for up to 15-20 hours per day. There are many reasons why tortoises need a lot of sleep. The first one is a form of adaptation to their natural habitat. Living in an arid area requires them to conserve energy. This is why they sleep a lot during the day to slow down their metabolism and avoid too much heat exposure. 

This article discusses why your tortoise sleeps all day to help you understand their sleeping pattern and possible problems. Read along so you can have a better understanding of your tortoise’s sleeping habits. 

Tortoises’ Sleeping Habits

why does my tortoise sleep all day
Tortoises’ Sleeping Habits

Tortoise’s sleeping habits can differ depending on the species, age, and health condition. The following are some everyday tortoise sleeping habits you need to know. 

1. Long Sleeping Periods

As mentioned above, tortoises naturally need to sleep for an extended period. Most species need 15-20 sleep per day. Older and bigger tortoises may even need to sleep more because they need to reserve energy for their bigger bodies. They also have less activity in the peak of the day and during colder months. 

2. Daytime Sleeping

Most tortoises also love to sleep during the day. This is because sleeping helps them slow down their metabolism and do it on purpose during the hot day. Some tortoises that originated from arid areas will mostly sleep during the day to avoid being exposed to the heat. 

3. Underground Sleeping

Some species, such as Russian tortoises, also have a burrowing nature and tend to sleep underground during the day. They do this to regulate their body temperature and conserve water when the weather is hot outside. 

In general, tortoises tend to be less active during the day. Even though they are not sleeping, they may do little to no activities, basking under the light or chilling under the shade. 

Can a Tortoise Sleep Too Much?

why does my tortoise sleep all day
Factors Influencing Tortoise Sleep

Even though tortoises naturally need a long period of sleep, they can sometimes sleep too much. Several factors make them sleep too much, including environmental conditions, changes in weather, and severe health problems. 

You need to understand that even though tortoises need a long sleep period, excessive sleeping can harm their health in the long run. Some health problems your tortoise may experience when they sleep too much include dehydration, poor immune system, metabolic bone diseases, and respiratory infections. 

Factors Influencing Tortoise Sleep

why does my tortoise sleep all day
Can a Tortoise Sleep Too Much?

There are several factors influencing tortoise sleeping habits. Below we listed several common factors that impact a tortoise’s sleeping habits.

1. Natural Tendencies

One of the most significant factors in a tortoise’s sleeping habit is its natural tendencies. Naturally, tortoises need a long time of sleep per day, which can be up to 20 hours per day for some species. They also hibernate during the brumation period. To understand their sleeping pattern, you need to understand their characteristics in their natural habitat. Some tortoises may prefer to sleep in water to stay hydrated. 

2. Environmental Factors

Environmental conditions also play a massive role in the tortoise’s sleeping pattern. Each type of tortoise has different sleeping habits because they adapt to their natural environment. For example, tortoises from arid areas tend to sleep more during the day to conserve energy and water while avoiding the heat. They also need some time to adapt to their new home

3. Light Cycle

In nature, tortoises base their sleeping schedule on the solar cycle. They are typically most active in the morning or during dusk and down when the light is on, but the temperature is cooler. They will typically be less involved in the middle of the day and sleep throughout the night. This is why, in captivity, light is crucial for tortoises to help them navigate their sleeping cycle. 

Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern
Light Cycle

4. Diet 

There are numerous reasons why diet is essential in a tortoise’s sleeping habits. A proper diet gives the nutrients tortoises need and allows them to sleep properly. However, when the nutrients are insufficient, the tortoise’s body will automatically go into survival mode, making them sleep longer than usual as a form of energy conservation. 

5. Age

Age is also one of the factors impacting a tortoise’s sleeping habits. Younger tortoises tend to be more active than older tortoises. When you notice subtle differences in their sleeping habits when they’re getting older, there’s a chance that it is just their nature, and you don’t have to worry about it.

6. Health Considerations

However, when a tortoise sleeps excessively more than the ideal period, there’s also a chance that they might be facing a health problem. If their sleeping habits are suspicious, you can consult a veterinarian to get them a health assessment and see the possible health issues. 

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Causes of Excessive Sleep in Tortoises

why does my tortoise sleep all day
Causes of Excessive Sleep in Tortoises

Excessive sleep in tortoises may lead to serious health problems. Ideally, they must balance their sleeping and activities so their organs can work properly. The following are several causes of excessive sleep in tortoises.

1. Lack of Proper Lighting 

Sun exposure has a huge role in a tortoise’s day-to-day life. Besides giving them the UVB, sunlight also helps them differentiate whether it is daytime or nighttime. This is why you must install a UV light in the enclosure if you keep the tortoise indoors. You also need to turn off the light at night so they can tell the difference.

2. Overheating

When the temperature is too high, tortoises hide in the shade or even burrow and sleep underground. This is because overheating is dangerous for their well-being, and they will try their best to conserve energy and water so they don’t get dehydrated. Check the pen’s temperature to ensure it is in the ideal range. 

why does my tortoise sleep all day

3. Illness

Sleeping too much can also be an indication of illness. If a tortoise catches a disease, it will feel sick and affect its body. Like humans, we tend to sleep and rest more when we get sick. The same thing goes for tortoises. If you see your tortoises sleeping more than they usually do, you must take them to the vet to get a proper examination.

4. Not Enough Exercise

Tortoises need to live in a stimulating area so they are motivated to move. If you see your tortoises just sleeping and staying still all day, you may need to evaluate the enclosure you build. If the pen is too small, they may have no space to move and choose to just chill. Some species also need stimulation, such as a climbing area, so you may need to provide these stimulating decorations inside the pen. 

Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern
Not Enough Exercise

5. Malnutrition

Lack of nutrition makes the tortoise don’t have enough energy to move. If you see your tortoises sleep too much, you may need to recheck their diet and get to know if you already provide them with a proper, balanced diet. 

6. Old Age

Older tortoises need to sleep longer. This is because their metabolism slows down as they age. Their body size also requires more energy, and they need to sleep more to ensure they have enough power to support their bigger body size. 

Monitoring Sleep Patterns

why does my tortoise sleep all day
Monitoring Sleep Patterns

Monitoring the tortoise’s sleeping pattern is particularly important to maintain their health. The owner has a significant role in monitoring their sleeping pattern. When you watch your tortoise’s sleeping pattern, you’ll get noticed immediately when they oversleep or sleep longer than their usual habit. 

1. Healthy Sleep Routine

Tortoises are sedentary pets and they thrive for consistency, and it is important to establish a consistent sleeping schedule. A healthy sleep routine can be achieved by proper temperature, a dark and quiet environment, and a proper light cycle. 

2. The Role of The Owner in Monitoring Sleep Patterns

You have an essential role in monitoring your tortoise’s sleeping pattern. Because they are being held on your watch, you are responsible for their environment. Your responsibilities include providing a proper temperature and maintaining an ideal light cycle. 

3. Signs of a Problem

Beware of any signs of sleeping problems. The problems may appear in tortoises resting longer or less than usual. When your tortoise shows a chance in their sleeping routine when you already make sure that the environment is ideal, they may have some health problems, so you need to consult a veterinarian immediately. 

Can a Tortoise Get Sick from Not Sleeping Enough?

Resting is an essential part of any living being, including tortoises. While sleeping excessively has its own danger, not getting enough sleep can also affect a tortoise’s health and well-being. Below are some problems tortoises might experience when they don’t get enough sleep. 

Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern
Tortoise Get Sick from Not Sleeping Enough

To answer the question, yes, a tortoise can get sick from insufficient sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system, making them prone to illness, allergies, and diseases. The disrupted sleeping pattern can also affect their metabolism and digestive system. Some tortoises are also prone to respiratory infection, and they will typically get sick when not resting properly.

What to do If Your Tortoise is Sleeping Excessively

why does my tortoise sleep all day
What to do If Your Tortoise is Sleeping Excessively

When you see your tortoise sleeping excessively, you need to help them get back into its regular sleeping pattern. There are some ways you can do to help them below:

1. Consultation with a veterinarian

This is the most crucial thing you need to do as soon as possible, especially if you don’t know what is causing them to sleep excessively. A vet visit will help you understand if there are any health concerns, and they will advise you on what to do. 

2. Making environmental changes

Because the environment plays a massive role in the tortoise’s sleeping habits, you may need to make some adjustments. Improper enclosure can disrupt a tortoise’s sleeping cycle. Recheck if the temperature is already ideal, especially in the cool area when they’re resting. Tortoise will not sleep properly when the temperature is too cold or too hot. 

3. Provide a proper diet

Again, diet plays a massive role in the tortoise’s sleep quality. You may need to adjust their diet to provide them with the required nutrients they need. Consult a vet to see if they need any additional supplements. 

Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern
Provide a proper diet

4. Monitoring health

Check any symptoms of health problems. You need to make sure that they defecate regularly, which is a sign of a healthy digestive system. You also need to check if they’re breathing properly and not showing respiratory problems. 

Additional Information 

Tortoises are naturally diurnal animals and need to sleep in order to conserve energy and regulate their body temperature. The amount of sleep tortoises must vary based on species, age, and environment. Proper lighting, temperature, and humidity are critical to a healthy sleep environment for tortoises.

Illness, stress, and changes in routine can disrupt a tortoise’s sleep patterns and lead to excessive sleeping. If a tortoise is sleeping a lot, it’s essential to have it examined by a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues. Overheating can also cause excessive sleep in tortoises, so it’s crucial to monitor the temperature of their environment and ensure that it’s not too hot. Tortoises require light and dark periods to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, so it’s essential to provide adequate lighting for your tortoise. 

Tortoise’s Sleeping Pattern
Information about tortoise

Older tortoises may sleep more frequently as they age. Still, monitoring changes in sleep patterns is essential to ensure that they are healthy and not suffering from any underlying conditions.

In tortoise husbandry, proper care and attention to detail can help maintain a healthy sleep pattern and prevent excessive sleeping. If you are concerned about your tortoise’s sleep patterns, seek advice from a veterinarian specializing in reptile care for specific recommendations and guidance.

Summary of Key Points

Sleeping and resting are integral parts of tortoise life. To maintain their health, they need to sleep properly and ideally. Sleeping too much or too little will affect their health a long way, and you need to do an immediate evaluation to get to know the factors disrupting their sleeping pattern. Take action to solve the problem immediately so they can return to their regular sleeping routine and live healthily. 


Remember that every species of tortoise requires a different amount of sleep. When taking care of a tortoise, we need to go back to the root and understand its origins to take proper care of them. Some tortoises that originated from hot areas may sleep longer during the day compared to tortoises from colder areas. Understanding their origins and natural habitat allows us to understand their sleeping pattern better and notice early signs of abnormality. Do further research on your tortoise and consult a veterinarian if you need clarification on your tortoise’s sleeping pattern. 

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Is it OK to wake a sleeping tortoise?

No, it is not recommended to wake a sleeping tortoise unless it is indispensable. Tortoises have a natural sleep-wake pattern that should not be disturbed to maintain their health. If you need to wake them for important reasons, such as giving them medication, do it as gently as possible. Avoid sudden moves and loud noises to prevent them from getting stressed. 

How active should my tortoise be?

It is different for each species. Some tortoises tend to be more active than others. In general, tortoises are also not very active animals. They like to chill, bask, and rest. However, proper exercise is also essential to keep them healthy. Ensure you provide them with a stimulating environment that encourages them to head out, move and explore. 

Why is my tortoise not moving?

There are some reasons why your tortoise is not moving. During the day, they love to stay still and just bask. During the night, they spend their time sleeping. However, they are usually still active, especially during dusk and dawn. Tortoises will also not move when they are brumating. If your tortoise is not moving at all outside their brumation period, you need to immediately take them to the vet for a health check. 

What lighting is best for a tortoise’s sleep environment?

To provide a tortoise with the best sleep environment, you should give a light cycle mimicking natural lighting. This means the enclosure should be dark at night. Any bright, colored, and overstimulating light during the night will cause discomfort and make the tortoise unable to sleep properly. Bright light at night can also disrupt their circadian rhythm and be harmful in the long run.

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