The Omlet Blog

How to Wake up a Hamster

Waking up a hamster is not always recommended, though there are certain ways you can do this to ease them out of their naptime. Considering they sleep mostly during the day, disturbing them to clean their cage or feed them is often inevitable. We look at how to wake up a hamster, in the politest way possible.

Many people believe that hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active throughout the night and tend to sleep during the day. However, this is not quite the case. A hamster’s sleep pattern tends to be slightly different. They are classed as crepuscular mammals, meaning that they are most active at dusk and dawn.

It is important to understand how your hamster sleeps to ensure that you have a healthy and happy little friend. You should also know when to leave them alone because even though they are cute you would not want a hamster in a huff!

sleepy white hamster with black eyes and long whiskers snuggled up in cosy hamster bedding

How to wake up a hamster

It may be disappointing to find your hamster fast asleep during the day when you want to play, but a hamster has its own routine, and although this can be adapted slightly, this is something you will have to accept.

You can always compromise and alter your daily patterns to suit your hamster, by waking a bit earlier or not going to bed until later at night. This might not be a solution for small children however,  as that could result in other problems! 

If you ever need to wake your hamster up, it’s important you know how to do this in the right way.
As prey animals, they want to feel safe, and they are used to hiding in the wild. This is why their sleep pattern has evolved over time so that they are more active at night when other predators might be on the hunt! It’s exhausting being so small, which is why hamsters are sleepy little animals and their sleep is so important. So when a hamster wakes, they need to be treated quite delicately so they can adjust as naturally as possible.

Move slowly

You want to wake up your hamster without scaring the poor thing and jumping out on them loudly and quickly is certainly the wrong way to go about it. Slow down your approach, especially if there are excited children ready to play. Don’t rush to wake them up as they could be in a deep sleep, and will not appreciate being woken up suddenly. 

Adjust their environment

A hamster’s sleep schedule means they begin to stir from their slumber at dusk and dawn, or during low-light hours. So you might be able to gently wake your hamster by adjusting the lights and dimming them in the room. By making the room dark enough, your hamster should respond to the change in light.

Hamsters sleep more in colder temperatures. Warming up the vicinity of your hamster’s cage acts as a gentle alarm clock allowing your hamster to wake up in a cosy environment. No one likes waking up in a cold house, and that includes hamsters!!

Offer them a treat

Sometimes the allure of cooking smells coming from the kitchen will wake even the heaviest of human sleepers, and when you do wake up after a nap you might feel a little peckish. The tempting smell of some yummy hamster food can do the same with your hamster!

Hold a little tasty hamster treat close to their nose and the delicious smell could stir them from their siesta. Make sure you don’t hold it too close, as this could scare them but they could grab the treat and scurry away to nibble on it alone. If that doesn’t work you could tempt them with some fresh food or give the food bowl a little shake. That’s certainly one almost guaranteed way to wake your hamster.

Talk softly or humorously

Do you “coo” and make silly noises around a baby? Hard not to really! Hamsters respond to gentle noises and soft voices. Making funny sounds or humming a calm tune will alert them to your presence as they will recognise the sound of your voice. They might be small but they are incredibly observant and clever little creatures.

Gently blow on your hamster

This may sound a little silly, but it can work and it doesn’t cause little hammy the hamster any harm. In fact, they may quite like it. If your hamster is sleeping out in the open in their hamster cage and is within reach, you could lightly blow on them. Think of a soft delicate summer breeze rather than a gale-force wind! Remember your size in comparison to your hamster!

white qute hamster cage with see through bedding tray against a painted blue wall in the living room

What not to do when waking up your hamster

The most important thing to remember when it comes to disturbing your hamster’s sleep schedule is that you need to be considerate. There are definitely ways you could bother your hamster that would be deemed inconsiderate so here are a few things to avoid!

Be loud

As prey animals, hamsters are constantly on alert, and could get easily stressed. Even if a hamster is awake or just relaxing it’s still a good idea to be gentle and play nice, after all, they are only small, and our size and volume could be somewhat intimidating! Loud noises, in general, will be very unpleasant, whether it’s playing loud music, shouting across the room or just raising your voice a bit. Hamsters have very sensitive ears.

Shake their cage

This is a definite no-no, a hamster’s cage is a safe place. They can snuggle up in their cosy nests and hide away from everything around them, or play peacefully in their comfortable habitat. The Qute Hamster cage offers an innovative design where you can see into the clear bedding tray. This way you can see where little hammy is and you can certainly avoid shaking the cage to see where they are or to wake them up!

Make them jump

Hamsters are delicate mini mammals and it doesn’t take much to scare them. Creeping up on them and making them jump will only stress them out. So, try not to startle your hamster and be conscious of your own behaviour around them, considering how sensitive they are.

If you are concerned that your hamster is unhappy then it is a good idea to try to learn a bit more about the Body Language of a Hamster. Like all pets, if things become a little unsettled and they feel stressed this could result in behavioural issues and a lack of trust towards their human families.

Picking them up

If you haven’t already startled your hamster and they are still fast asleep then it is certainly not recommended to attempt to pick up or poke them to make them wake up. There is no gentle way to do that! Be warned, hamsters do have very sharp teeth and they could bite if they feel threatened. After all, you are trespassing on their territory!

Fast or sudden movements

Avoid quick and sharp and sudden movements, this will startle the little one and could be quite distressing. Hamster’s natural instincts are pretty sharp so they will see this sudden movement as a threat.

little girl holding a grey hamster in her hands in front of the qute hamster cage in the living room

What time should a hamster wake up?

Hamsters follow their natural sleep pattern, and whilst they can adapt to a slightly different routine it will never completely change to suit you (it will most likely need to be the other way around!). They will always stir during those low light hours, and while we can interfere with that slightly by warming up the room or altering the lights, you will only be able to change the schedule by an hour or two.

A hamster’s sleep will also depend on the species, as different varieties have distinct sleep schedules and needs. Hamsters usually sleep for about 12-14 hours a day, but they have polyphasic sleep-wake patterns. This means they sleep on and off throughout the day rather than one continuous sleep cycle.

One way to keep an eye on your hamster’s sleep pattern is to keep a diary and track their schedule. Spend a few days writing down precisely when they are asleep and awake. Follow this by feeding them at the same time each day. Over time you can alter the feeding time by a few minutes, which will ultimately affect when they wake.

Is it bad if my hamster sleeps at night?

There could be a number of reasons why your hamster sleeps at night, a couple of reasons may be that they are hibernating or could be sick. The age of your hamster will also affect how much they sleep. Stress and depression can also be factors, or they may have been overstimulated during the day when they should have been sleeping. Just like a small child, if they are overtired they will struggle sleeping because the routine has been altered.

Hibernation can occur if your hamster is housed in a cold environment that drops below 10 degrees celsius. If you don’t live in a cold environment but notice that your hamster is sleeping more often than not then check the temperature to make sure there isn’t a draft anywhere that could be causing a drop in temperature.

Otherwise, respiratory and digestive issues can be common in hamsters so if they are more lethargic than normal then it would be a good idea to take them to a vet to check and make sure they are okay.


Hamsters are very common pets for small children and so it’s imperative to learn about your hamster’s personality and behaviour. This way you can make sure they are happy so that you can keep them and your children safe.

Key points to take away from this:

  • Avoid waking your hamster unless it’s done properly
  • If you notice increased sleeping at night they could be sick or unhappy
  • The location of the hamster cage is important – place the cage in a darker corner of the room so they can sleep during the day
  • Wake up your hamster slowly and calmly
  • No sudden movements, cage shaking or shouting!
  • Sleeping 12-14 hours a day is normal, that’s the sleep they need

It’s always worth thinking about how you would like to be woken up. Unlikely it would be by an enormous person running towards you shouting, especially when it’s earlier in the morning than you were expecting. A little hum in the ear, a yummy cooked breakfast and a cup of coffee is a much nicer way to start any day! 

This entry was posted in Hamsters

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