Understanding Rabbits Sleeping Habits

Understanding Rabbits Sleeping Habits

Sleeping for animals is one of the important ways to rest for another day. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), it also is a process that lets any species re-energize its body. NIH  added that sleep and wakefulness contribute to overall body function. That is why if your rabbit lacks sleep, they tend to have a weaker function.  

Rabbits are classified as prey animals, making them vulnerable to predators in the wild. As a result, they have a natural instinct to adopt a self-defense position to protect themselves, even while sleeping. Thus, it is not uncommon to see rabbits sleeping in a position that ensures their safety.

So if you own a rabbit, don’t be surprised by some bizarre sleeping position and behavior in your pet. It is natural for them to do that because of their history and instinct. But it’s always best to consult your doctor to guide you better in caring for the rabbit.                   

Everything About Rabbit Sleeping 

Similar to other animals such as deer, rabbits tend to sleep for extended periods during the daytime. According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), one reason for this behavior is that rabbits are crepuscular creatures, which means they are primarily active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. This behavior helps them to hunt for food and move around freely in the wild while minimizing the risk of encountering predators.

PETA also added that most people’s misconception is that rabbits are nocturnal, but they are not. In fact, the eyes of the rabbit are not that clear at night, although they can see clearer than humans.     

Research shows that the average amount of time that your rabbit sleep is 8-9 hours daily. It is less than other pet animals like dogs and cats. But this is enough for rabbits to regain energy and become active again the next day. 

The amount of sleep can contribute to your rabbit’s activity. If they oversleep, sometimes it can signal that your pet is sick. On the other hand, if they do not sleep, it can mean that something makes them uncomfortable. You need your pet’s veterinarian right away to properly assess the rabbit for any underlying complications.    

Sleeping Habit of Baby Rabbit

Baby rabbits need to sleep more than adult rabbits. Since they are more vulnerable, they sleep near their mother to feel safe. They also need more energy and rest upon birth to keep their body development strong and good. 

When your rabbit is pregnant, you must separate it from another rabbit with a playful characteristic. This will prevent the pregnant rabbits from accidents and fighting. A mother rabbit will become protective of her babies, so giving them a separate cage to rest and sleep is advisable to keep both mother and baby rabbit safe.           

Advantages of Sleeping in Rabbits

Sleeping Helps Rabbits Gain Energy

One of the primary roles of sleeping in rabbits and other species is gaining body energy. Although rabbits are not as active as other pets, rabbits still need an active lifestyle to be healthy. Rabbits love jumping and wondering about their environment, but if they don’t have the energy to do that because they are deprived of sleep, it can result in an inactive lifestyle, affecting their health.        

Sleeping Helps Rabbits Rest    

Just like humans, rest is essential for rabbits. After your rabbit eats, plays, and engages in daily activities, they can feel tired. That’s why sleeping is important to help them rest. A relaxed rabbit that gets plenty of sleep contributes to keeping its body functioning well. It also helps them stay productive and perform well every day.      

Sleeping Decreases the Chance of Weight Gain/Loss

Some studies indicate that sleeping affects weight gain and loss in animals. Obesity in rabbits is a risk to their health. Studies also show that the less sleep in rabbits, the higher the risk of obesity. As an owner, you need to understand that the anatomy of rabbits, their habits, and their behavior is correlated with one another.

In addition, oversleeping can make your rabbit’s digestive system upset. Now, if your rabbit sleeps the ideal amount of time, it decreases the chance of weighing risk in your pet. Therefore it is crucial that you let your rabbit rest.  

Sleeping Assist The Immune System of the Rabbit

One way of keeping your rabbit healthy is protecting its immune system. This body system is responsible for protecting your pet from common diseases and infestations that enter its body. According to the study of BMC Ecology and Evolution, there is strong evidence that sleeping contributes to keeping the immune system healthy.            

If You Want To Know More About Rabbit Care, Click and Read This Article: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Care of Rabbits

Types of Sleeping Positions in Rabbits

Sleeping positions are crucial for animals as they play a significant role in promoting alertness and rest. The sleeping position of rabbits can convey different meanings and may be influenced by various factors, such as their unique characteristics. 

Therefore, it is essential to familiarize yourself with your pet’s sleeping positions to determine whether they are getting adequate rest or are still active even while sleeping.

Rabbits have three general sleeping positions: loafing, sprawling, and flopping.    


This sleeping position in rabbits is commonly seen if the rabbit wants to rest while being alert at the same time. You can notice your rabbit is loafing if their legs and feet are under its butt. This helps your pet get up quickly if they think there are threats in their surroundings. It is also called loafing because your rabbit looks like a loaf of bread because only their upper body part is exposed.          


A sprawling sleeping position is often seen in rabbits when they are relaxed.  You can notice your rabbit sprawling on its tummy, lying flat on its bedding and legs. Sometimes they look like a superman figure in this position because their arms are also stretched and flat. 

This position also has the added benefit of helping your rabbit regulate their body temperature during hot weather since their belly is flat against the ground, allowing for more heat dissipation. Sprawling is often observed in rabbits that are content and at ease in their environment. If you notice your pet assuming this sleeping position, it is a sign that you are taking good care of your rabbit and providing them with a safe and comfortable home.      


Flopping is another sleeping position that means your pet is satisfied with its life. You can see the flopping position of your rabbit laying down like in humans, and their arms and legs are stretched forward. This is a bizarre position, but it can be fun to watch if you see your rabbit sleeping in a flopping position.     

Do Rabbits Sleep With Eyes Open?

Yes, rabbits can sleep with their eyes open. This is a natural sleeping behavior in rabbits, especially wild animals. Since rabbits are prey animals, being vulnerable is the last thing they want to feel. Rabbits develop a habit of sleeping with their eyes open as part of their survival skills. This helps them avoid attacks from potential threats of predators and keeps them alert while resting.       

Although you can also notice this bizarre sleeping habit in some captive rabbits, you don’t have to worry because it is natural for them. But for peace of mind, you can ask your pet’s doctor to know the root cause of sleeping with their eyes open.                  

Rabbits have three eyelids, one of which is called the nictitating membrane. This eyelid helps them detect changes and movements of light in their surroundings, which can aid in their alertness and response to potential dangers.

The changes in the light help your pet become alert. For instance, if someone blocks the light from reaching your pet’s eyes, it can trigger their startle reflex, causing them to become alert and potentially flee from danger. Similarly, if you approach your rabbit and disturb the light around them, it could also cause them to wake up suddenly and become more aware of their surroundings.

Signs That Your Rabbit Is Sleeping

Getting enough sleep is important for rabbits. However, due to their peculiar behaviors, it can be challenging to determine whether your pet is sleeping. Moreover, rabbits tend to be light sleepers, which may cause concern for their owners regarding their sleep patterns. Therefore, it is essential to recognize some signs that your rabbit is sleeping.

Relaxed Breathing

One indication that your rabbit is sleeping even if their eyes are open is the way it breathes. When a rabbit is resting, their lungs affect its breathing which is why it seems more relaxed than awake rabbits. Check if your pet breathes comfortably and has the right interval between inhaling and exhaling.            

You can also check the expansion of your pet’s stomach; that way, you can determine the breathing count of your pet. If your rabbit is restless or in pain, you will notice its breathing can also change. The rabbit will breathe faster like they are gasping for air. If your pet has difficulty breathing while sleeping, bring them to the vet immediately for assessment.                            

Relaxed Body Position

Another thing to look at is the body position of your rabbit. You will know that your rabbit is having a good sleep if their body is not tense. It can mean that your pet knows they are safe and can be vulnerable while sleeping. Sometimes you can notice that their ears are laid back. It is an indication for your pet that they are getting a good rest.                       


Snoring in rabbits is not that common. But sometimes, if your rabbit has a good rest, they tend to snore. But you must keep an eye on your pet if the rabbit is snoring now and then. It can be a sign of illness in your rabbit. Similar to humans, snoring can mean respiratory problems in rabbits. Either there is a blockage in their lungs, or they have a snuffle.              

Rabbit Sleeping With Humans 

Some owners prefer to let their rabbit sleep in the designated place to give them privacy. But others love their pets so much that they let them sleep beside them. It’s okay to let your pet sleep with you in your bed. But not all cases of rabbits like to sleep beside humans. You need to know that each rabbit has different characteristics. Some of them love to cuddle with their humans, and some like to be alone, and you need to respect that.         

If you want your rabbits to sleep beside you, ensure they are trained to avoid problems. Here are some tips you need to consider before letting your rabbit sleep in your bed. 

Train Your Rabbit While They Are Young

One practice you need to do is train your rabbits while they are young. Routine builds up habits in your pet. You must ensure that your pet is comfortable and familiar when training them. If it’s your pet’s first time on a bed mattress, keep an eye on whether they will sleep comfortably or find a place to hide. 

Ensure There Is A Litter Box Inside the Bedroom 

You also need to consider the possibility that your rabbit will poop and urinate inside the bedroom. That is why you need to train them to litter in the designated area to avoid a messy sleeping habit with your rabbit. The last thing you want to deal with is waking up at midnight to clean their poop beside you.          

Close The Bedroom Door

Ensure that you close the door in your bedroom as a precautionary measure. Since rabbits are light sleepers, they might suddenly wake up and leave you sleeping. If the door is open, they can go outside and wander the other parts of your house. There is a possibility for them to encounter danger and accidents, so close the door every sleeping time.            

Remove Toxic Plants from Indoor

Once you decide to sleep with your rabbit, you must ensure they don’t acquire health issues and danger. You need to remove toxic houseplants that your rabbit can eat, like hostas and poinsettias. Avoid smoking marijuana inside the bedroom as well, since it is enclosed. It will affect your rabbit’s health and result in serious rabbit complications.             

Key Takeaways

  • Sleeping with rabbits is an important part of their life. This is where they get their energy and have time to rest from doing their activity daily.
  • NIH stated that the amount of sleep and time awake affects every species’ body function and activity. For example, if your rabbit lacks sleep, they don’t have any energy. Or if they oversleep, it can indicate a sign of sickness in your pet.
  • Rabbits are crepuscular and prey animals. That is why they are light sleepers and active during the dawn. This helps wild rabbits hunt their food and survive in their environment while avoiding predators.
  • Rabbits’ average sleeping time is 8-9 hours daily. This helps them rest and regain energy, contributing to their lifestyle and health. At the same time, baby rabbits sleep more than adults because they are more vulnerable. They need lots of sleep to develop their body and other systems.
  • The advantages of sleeping are that your rabbit can regain energy. They can rest, decrease the chance of obesity, and keep their immune system strong.
  • Rabbits have three general sleeping positions: loafing, sprawling, and flopping.
  • Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open. It is a defense mechanism for rabbits because they are often a target of wild predators. Their three eyelids allow them to do this because one of those three can detect light changes in rabbits’ surroundings even if they are sleeping.
  • You must ensure that your rabbit is getting enough sleep. Here are the signs you can look at your rabbit to know if they are sleeping. The rabbit has a relaxed breathing pattern, their body position is relaxed, and sometimes they snore.
  • It’s okay to let your rabbit sleep beside you. But you need to consider a few things. Some of them do not like to have a sleeping companion, so do not force your pet to sleep in your bed because you will just stress the rabbit.
  • Here are the tips if you plan to let your pet sleep beside you; train them while they are young, ensure there is a litter box inside the bedroom, always close the bedroom door, and remove any hazardous things like toxic plants.
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