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Why Are My Gerbils Awake At Night? (Explained)

Does your gerbil constantly wake you up at night by their movement in their cage or making sounds when all you want is a good night’s sleep?

In this article, we will explore what leads your gerbil to make a racket at nighttime. We will also talk about how you can lessen the noise your gerbil makes when you’re trying to sleep in a way that’s beneficial to both you and your gerbil.

Here’s Why Your Gerbils Are Awake at Night

Gerbils are awake at night because they are naturally packed with energy and are rarely found just relaxing when awake. They are also metaturnal animals meaning they sleep partly during the daytime and at night. This leads to their sleep cycles being erratic. This is why they are busy at night. 

Reasons Why Gerbils Are Awake at Night

So, So Much Energy

To help your gerbil quiet down at night, it’s important to understand why they are making such a ruckus. The main reason behind their energy is just that:

energy! Gerbils are naturally always on the go. When these little busy bodies are awake, they are almost always doing something. 

Chewing on the cage bars, running around, tearing up paper, squeaking non-stop, the list goes on. Gerbils may be small, but their energy can exhaust you if you’re not careful.

Metaturnal Sleep Cycles

Finally, we are going to talk about this weird word! Metaturnal is a fancy way of saying that in each 24-hour day period, gerbils will sleep roughly half of that: twelve hours.

When do they sleep that much? That varies from gerbil to gerbil. They certainly don’t get all that rest in one sitting though. 

Metaturnal animals’ sleep cycles are broken up into a bunch of naps instead of knocking out for twelve straight hours. 

It can be easy for a gerbil to get most of its twelve hours in while the sun is out and then be partying on its wheels all night, much to your dismay.

What Can I Do?

Plenty! Let’s look at the different tactics you can use to help your gerbil be both happy and quiet when you are sleeping.

Get Your Gerbils Exercised!

Probably the best method in the book is to tire your gerbil out with fun and games before bed so that they will be nice and sleepy when you are nice and sleepy.

An hour or so before your bedtime, take your gerbil out to explore. The wide-open space will get them excited to scurry about. 

If they are running around in a controlled environment where they are safe (try the empty bathtub or the kitchen floor with a barrier), and as long as you supervise them at all times, your gerbil will enjoy tuckering itself out before bed. 

Feed Your Gerbil at Night

Feeding your gerbil before you go to bed can help keep them quiet for two reasons. One, it will keep them preoccupied with eating, which is among their quieter activities. 

Two, like us, when your gerbil is well fed, there’s a higher chance that they will want to rest it off after a hard day’s work of gerbiling.

An extra tip: When you feed your gerbil at night, don’t give the whole portion to them in one bowl. Take your gerbil out of its cage and hide food randomly throughout the cage. This will keep your gerbil preoccupied even longer as it looks for the food.

Leave Paper Towels

There are a few things that small rodents, including gerbils, love doing more than having fun ripping up paper towels. Thankfully, paper towels being ripped is rather quiet. 

Leave your gerbil with a nightly present of paper towels for them and they will be busy silently shredding them up while you get the night’s sleep you deserve.


A good night’s sleep is important to have to keep healthy, however, if you cannot have this because of your gerbil’s activities at night, then this is a problem.

Naturally, gerbils have a different sleep cycle than us and are partly active during the night. In order to have a good night’s sleep, implement the methods described above to address this.


Metaturnal sleep cycle