I Left My Bearded Dragon’s Lights On All Night (What To Do)

bearded dragon after his light has been left on all night

Bearded dragons are fairly low-maintenance pets as far as reptiles go.  But, there are a few things that are super important in keeping your bearded dragon healthy.  Food, environment, and lighting are some of the factors that you’ll need to pay close attention to as a bearded dragon owner!  So, what if something goes wrong?  What happens when you realize,

“I left my bearded dragon’s lights on all night!”

Luckily, your bearded dragon won’t suffer any serious health consequences from one night with the lights on.  But, the lights will probably disrupt their sleep schedule for a few days.  Putting your lights on a timer can help regulate this process and prevent you from making this mistake again in the future. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what you can do if you leave your beardie’s light on all night.  We’ll also talk about what the best lighting setup is for a bearded dragon, and how to prevent more lighting accidents.  If you’re already a lighting pro, you can skip the first section and head straight down to the 4 step guide on what to do if you left the lights on, otherwise, keep reading!

What To Do If You Left Your Bearded Dragon’s Light On All Night. (4 Steps)

So you left the lights on in your beardies enclosure all night?  Don’t worry, it happens! If you left on a trip and your timer stopped working or your pet sitter didn’t come by, your bearded dragon might have gotten light for 24 hours straight.

Here are a few things you can do to help your beardie feel a little better!

Step 1: Don’t Panic

The first thing to do is to not panic!

Leaving your bearded dragon’s light on overnight is the equivalent of you falling asleep with the lights on.  Do you get the best night of sleep when you sleep with the lights on?  No!  Are you still able to fall asleep?  Yes!

Most likely, if your beardie spent the night with the lights on, they were still able to sleep!  If you have a good setup for your beardie, they probably have a hide.  If your beardie didn’t want to be exposed to light all night, it probably just went to sleep in its hide.  So, if you left the light on for one night, there’s really no need to worry!

If the lights were left on for multiple nights in a row, your pet is still going to be okay.  But, they might be a little tired and dehydrated after nights of exposure.

Step 2: Consult your Veterinarian If Needed

If you notice some behavioral changes in your bearded dragon, feel free to give your veterinarian a call!

It’s never a bad idea to talk to a professional.  A veterinarian will know when a bearded dragon needs medical attention.  Plus, even if your bearded dragon is fine, it might be comforting just to talk with someone about the incident!  It’s an especially good idea to call a vet if you left the lights on for multiple nights in a row.

Step 3: Get Your Bearded Dragon Back On A Normal Sleep Schedule

Your next step is to try to get your beardie back on a normal sleep schedule!

To make up for a night where the lights were left on all night, you can simply turn off the lights a little earlier the following night!  This will give your bearded dragon a little extra time to catch up on the missed sleep.  A few hours should be fine.  If the light were left on for multiple nights, try turning the lights off even earlier, and scale them back day by day.

Step 4: Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again

To avoid a lighting issue again, our number one recommendation is a timer for your light!

Timers automate reptile lights and make schedules happen even when you’re not home.  You can find outlet timers at most pet supply stores, and they’re pretty easy to set up!  This 2-minute video gives a great tutorial on how to set one of these up.

Getting your lights hooked up to a timer is the best way to make sure you don’t overdo it with the lights.  Even when you’re traveling, or out late, those lights are going to go on and off at the appropriate times!  This makes your life and your pet’s life even easier!

What Lights Should A Bearded Dragon Have On During The Day?

Bearded dragons are pets that originated in the Australian desert.  This means that their natural climate is hot and dry during the day and cool and dry during the evening.  Bearded dragons in the wild are often found basking in the hot sun and then hiding away under a rock at night.

By looking at a bearded dragon’s natural history, we can get some clues as to what their enclosure setup should look like and why having a light on all night isn’t an ideal scenario for them.

During the day, bearded dragons should have either one or two lights that serve two main functions.  These functions can be supplied from one light at a time or can come from two different sources.  Here are the two things your beardie needs during the day.

UVA/UVB Light

Some pet reptiles don’t actually need a source of UVA/UVB lighting.  For the most part, these reptiles are nocturnal and wouldn’t normally spend their days basking in the sun.  But, because beardies would spend much of their life in the sun naturally, so your pet is going to need a UVA/UVB light to get them through the day.

Let’s talk about the difference between UVA and UVB lights and when your beardie needs these lights on.

UVA and UVB are both spectrums of light that usually come from the sun.  While both are important for normal bodily functions, UVB can cause sunburns, and UVA can age skin.  For reptiles like bearded dragons, UVB is the most important spectrum of light they need if they’re not out in the sun.

UVB facilitates the synthesis of vitamin D3.  Vitamin D3 is needed in order to absorb the important mineral calcium!  If your pet doesn’t have a source of UVB lighting throughout the day, it won’t be able to process calcium well.  Without calcium, your pet might develop and show symptoms of metabolic bone disease, (like twitching and weak bones).  You can always use a light that emits both UVA and UVB rays.  And, if you have the chance, you can give your beardie outside time on sunny days (supervised of course).

You’ll only want to leave the UVA/UVB light on for about 12 hours during the day.  Anything longer than that will disrupt your bearded dragon’s sleep schedule and keep them awake longer than it should be.  If you did leave your bearded dragon’s light on all night, we’ll talk about how to fix their schedule below.

Basking Light

The other type of lighting you’ll want to provide for your bearded dragon is a basking light or heat lamp.

Bearded dragons are desert reptiles who love the warm sun.  They’re built for it!  Your bearded dragon’s tank should be kept at around 80F-85F.  But, the area where you place the basking light should hit about 90F-95F.  The basking light is important in keeping your beardie warm and also in regulating their sleep schedule.  Just like the UVA/UVB light, a basking light should only be left on for about 12 hours!  Remember, we’re trying to mimic those desert days and nights.

If you leave a basking light on all night, your bearded dragon might be too warm to get comfortable.  If you left a basking light on overnight, you can fix the issue pretty easily!

What Lights Should A Bearded Dragon Have On At Night?

So, are there any lights a bearded dragon needs at night?

No!  Night lights like red lights aren’t needed for most reptiles including bearded dragons.

The only thing your bearded dragon needs overnight is a temperature-regulated enclosure.  Your bearded dragon should sleep at night, and there shouldn’t be any source of light left on for them.  As long as the enclosure is warm enough, the basking light should be turned off at night as well.  If you live in a colder climate or building, you can supplement your bearded dragon’s overnight heat with a ceramic heat lamp that doesn’t emit light or with a heating pad under the tank.

So, what do you do if you’ve left the light on all night?

Final Thoughts

If you left your bearded dragon’s lights on all night, they’re going to be just fine!  The worst that can happen overnight is that they lost a little sleep and might be cranky the next day.  You can help your bearded dragon out by adjusting the lighting for the next day to get them back on a normal sleep schedule.

You might also give them one of their favorite bugs as a way of saying you’re sorry!

Hopefully, once your get a light timer setup, you and you pet won’t have to worry about this little problem again!