All you need to know about parrot’s sleep time – Complete guide!

Sleep is very important for the parrot’s health. Without a good night of sleep, the birds can have their immune system affected and get cranky. In this article, we will bring a complete guide to parrot’s sleep time.

Generally speaking, offer your bird a quiet and dark room to sleep in. Let it sleep for at least 10 hours. Cover the cage partially depending on the bird. It’s important to keep a regular sleep schedule for the bird’s health.

How many hours should my parrot sleep?

It’s very important that you let your bird sleep 10 to 12 hours. The majority of parrots are tropical or subtropical, meaning they live near the equator where there are 12 hours of darkness every night.

Other species such as Budgies and Cockatiels (who inhabit most of the Australian continent) are likely more temperate creatures, as their day lengths vary more as ours do. Therefore, they perhaps need a bit less sleep at night.

What time should I put my parrot to bed?

If we follow the 12 hours of sleep rule, that means that if you want your bird to wake up around 7 am, it will probably have to be put to bed at 7 pm or earlier, given that you had enough playtime with it.

Most people usually send their birds to bed between 6 pm to 9 pm.

If you’ve got a bird from one of the more temperate regions, it may need 10 hours of light and 14 hours of darkness in the winter months, and 14 hours of light, and 10 hours of dark in the summer months.

parrotlet sleeping

Staying up past sunset

You can let your birds stay up past sunset, but then you’re going to need to allow them to sleep later in the morning. Don’t make noise or turn the lights early in the morning so they can have a full cycle of sleep.

As your bird should have at least 10 hours of darkness, if the sun rises at 6:30 am and you’re not covering its cage, you should not keep your bird up past 8:30 pm the night before, because it will not have enough sleep time.

Some birds can be little brats when it regards to bedtime! So, the earlier you move it to the cage and to a quiet environment, the best it is for helping it to snooze off at the correct time and to keep a strict bedtime routine.

Reduce hormonal behavior by limiting access to light

If you spent at least one entire year with your parrot, you can probably tell when is ‘hormonal season’.

If you are dealing with a lot of aggressive biting and chronic egg laying, try limiting the access to light to eight to 10 hours daily to try to shut down those reproductive hormones. Use dark blinds on the window or cover their cages earlier than usual.

Please observe this is a temporary measure. It may take several weeks for this method to actually show the results and it should be gradually changed back to normal. Also, that may not the solution for every hormonally-charged bird. It’s ideal to talk to your vet about this issue.

The exception to the rule

If life is busy, you arrived home late, your parrot is already sleeping for some time and it didn’t have any good quality playtime. Should you bother waking up for some playtime? Yes, you can! Just watch out for two things:

  1. Don’t immediately take the bird out when you’re waking it up. It will probably bite you! Wake them slowly and give them 30 minutes to fully wake up.
  2. After you’re done playing, wind down the vibe and help the bird get into a bedtime mood again. Remember, you need to make up for the time the bird spent awake late at night. Make sure to let it sleep a bit longer in the next day. The minimum is 10 hours.

Why should I bother to have a strict bedtime routine for my parrot?

A rigid routine is very important for pet birds because, in the wild, they would be ‘governed’ by the sun, as they go to bed with the sunset and wake up at sunrise. Because we took them from the wild and made them ‘pets’, in an artificial environment with no direct access to the natural sunlight, birds are often confused about what time they should sleep and wake up.

African Grey parrot inside sleep cage
African Grey parrot inside sleep cage

Also, the sunlight tells how their hormones behave. If there is a lot of sunlight, it means it’s Spring, which means it’s time for mating, which means parrots will get a bit hormonal and hard to deal with as a consequence. Hormonal parrots will bite more, will get more protective, and are vulnerable to becoming egg-bound.

Besides that, they will not get the deep sleep they need and will have a series of health consequences, including general irritability.

How the sun (or lack of it) affects parrot’s sleep

Unfortunately, indoor birds do not receive the benefits of the UV light emitted by the sun. Most window glass is treated to prevent ultraviolet (UV) rays from passing through and the rays do not reach the bird. This is bad because a lack of D3 and calcium that comes from UV light can cause painful and even fatal conditions in birds.

Additionally, if the environment is not bright enough, it may cause confusion regarding what time of the day it is. They might sleep more than they should. There should be a stark differentiation in-between ‘day light’ and ‘night light’ that helps the bird figure out what to expect from its environment.

UV improves your parrot’s psychological health. It can help towards stopping destructive behaviors like feather plucking and it improves appetite, feather condition, and overall health.

How much exposure to natural light do birds need? 

Pet birds should get four and six hours of unobstructed skylight a day, but if that’s not reasonable even a couple of hours a day outside will help. The sun doesn’t have to directly hit the parrot, but they have to have an unobstructed sky.

How can I make my parrot sleep?

First of all, be aware that parrots have a tendency to be especially vocal right before they go to sleep every night.

If your bird engages in a lot of noisy clicking or chattering sounds when it gets dark out, it may be a sign that he’s gearing up for a night of rest, and also trying to communicate with the other members of his social group – possibly you and the other residents of your home.

After this ‘chatter phase’, stop any kind of activity that could make the parrot ‘hyper’. No loud voices, no upbeat singing, no brusque movements.

On the video below, Marlene gives more tips on how to put your parrot to bed.

What is the best sleep environment for my parrot?

The best sleep environment for your parrot is the one where you can provide a quiet and dark room for your bird to sleep in without any scare jumps through the night. Some people transport their birds to a night cage in a quieter room of the house.

During the day, it is a good practice to keep the parrot in the room where there is the most family interaction. 

Where to place the birdcage at night?

The best-case scenario is to provide your bird a bird room where its cage can sit and will be safe from exterior noise and lights.

Ideally, you would have timed lights, so it can help to provide consistent bedtime and wake-up hours. Black-out shades by the window can also help to ensure a dark environment.

If this is not possible, try to find the quietest room/area in your house. Perhaps this might be the downstairs bathroom, or even a large, well-ventilated walk-in closet. 

Avoid putting your birdcage close to the kitchen or washroom at night. The noise from a toilet flush might be sufficient to wake your bird (my own experience!), as well as move pots in the fridge.

There is no need to tiptoe around your birdcage. However, sudden and startling loud noises should be avoided, though, as should extra-silent environments, which tend to make birds think that there’s a predator nearby. 

Do parrots need a bed?

No, the so-called ‘sleepy huts’ actually do more harm than good. Birds only need a nest when they’re breeding.

Some bird owners think that birds need a soft bed to sleep as humans do. Then, they buy sleepy huts hoping the parrot will have a more comfortable sleep.

Sleep huts are not recommended for parrots
Sleep huts are not recommended for parrots

That is a mistake, as this is not a natural way for birds to sleep. They need to sleep standing on a perch. It’s more comfortable than you think! It turns out birds have a natural ‘lock’ system in their feet that helps them perch automatically.

Except when they are flying, birds are on their feet 24/7. When perching, their feet lock onto the perch so they never fall off when they are sleeping.

Below are other reasons why sleepy huts are bad for birds:

  • birds chew on them and the strings from the fabric can get stuck in their stomachs
  • the hut can simulate a nest and estimulate an unnatural hormonal state
  • the bird will be sleeping in their own droppings

Should I cover my parrot’s cage at night?

Unless their bird cages are covered, birds usually awaken when the sun comes up. A cage cover is great to let the bird know that it’s time to prepare for bedtime and to wake up. A cover can also keep out visual stimuli that may cause night frights.

You can use a dark towel or blanket to cover the cage or a specially made cage cover. Be sure the material is not toxic in case the bird chews by the morning. It doesn’t need to provide total darkness, as wild birds are not in complete darkness at night.

Another advantage of covering the cage is that a cage cover acts as a nest cavity, making the bird feel safe as if it was in a nest cavity in a tree. It also shelters the bird from any ambient light that is in your home as well as allows your bird to sleep without any drafts caused by air conditioning or an air purifier that you might have running.

Does every bird need to have its cage covered at night?

However, the decision about covering the cage might change from bird to bird. If noise and light are not a problem, experiment leaving your bird uncovered for a few nights to analyze its reactions. If the bird appears to like being uncovered at night, then it is acceptable to leave it that way. However, if the bird appears agitated or begins to exhibit signs of stress, crankiness, or its behavior changes in some way that is not normal, the best thing to do is keep it covered at night.

Compared to other birds, cockatiels prefer to have a brighter environment at night, as they are more susceptible to night frights if it is too dark. Leave part of their cages uncovered and plug in a night light so they can check the environment for any threats.

On the opposite side, Parrotlets should be covered at night as they need very stricter bedtime routines.

Some people use cage covering during the day as a way to stop birds from yelling. That can be bad because will trigger unwanted naps during the day, which may affect the birds’ sleep schedule. It’s best to cover the cage only at sleep time.

What are the signs of sleep deprivation in birds?

If your parrot is experiencing the symptoms below, it might be a good idea to try to increase their sleep time. Many birds become anxious due to not getting much sleep, and act out by engaging in problematic behaviors. It can also weaken birds’ immune systems, and therefore make them more susceptible to illness.

Some of the signs of sleep deprivation are:

  • Biting
  • Excessive vocalizations
  • Feather destruction
  • Prolonged molting
  • Territorial aggression
  • Egg-laying

Bird night frights – What they are and how to avoid them?

Birds have night frights whenever they wake up at night desperate thinking they’re getting attacked. It’s something that scares the bird, and in the dark,causing it to thrashes around in a panic.

If this happens to your bird, you will definitively hear a comotion and when you come to check out, will realize your bird very upset and his heart will be beating fast.

The theory is that wild birds will do the same thing if startled in the night. But they are less likely to get injured or lose feathers since they aren’t in a cage.

How to stop bird night frights

The key is to try to figure out if there is something that is regularly startling your bird. In many cases, it is an isolated incident where possible a noise from outside startled the bird.

If a bird is doing this a lot, then you look at the surroundings. Birds are prey animals, so any movement in the night can cause frights.

Could there be lights from outside shining through the window? Maybe headlights from a passing car, an outdoor light at a neighbor’s house, or even moonlight. A tree or bush moving in the breeze can cause shadows that could be scary for a bird.

Cockatiels are vulnerable to night frights
Cockatiels are vulnerable to night frights

Noises can be alarming – barking dog, cats fighting, car alarms. Most birds do not roost in the open at night. It’s generally recommended covering the cage at night to block out lights and movement. If this is a bird who has had night frights often, leaving the cover partly open and having a night light can help.

Cockatiels are the most likely pet bird to suffer from night frights. In the wild, they’re ground feeders and have whip-fast responses to any potential threat by wildly flapping and flying for a quick escape.

Sleeping habits for each species

  • Red-fronted macaws enjoy ‘snoozing the alarm’ a little longer, even after sunrise
  • Blue and Gold Macaws prefer to sleep in on colder rainy days
  • Parrotlets like to sleep and wake up at the same time every day

Do parrots sleep deeply?

If the bird is exceptionally shagged out and feels safe, it will sleep with its head turned almost 180 degrees with its beak tucked between the wing and the body. Research indicates that birds sleep more deeply when their head is tucked.

If they’re in a more vulnerable position, maybe in the wild and at the possible reach of predators, some birds will sleep with one eye open only. More about it in our article What time do birds sleep.

How do I know if my parrot is sleeping?

If your parrot has its eyes closed, chances are that is resting or it is relaxed. However, closed eyes aren’t the only sign that your pet is sleeping.

You may want to watch their sleep posture. When relaxed, parrots may sleep with a single foot folded toward their stomach region. If he’s really relaxed, he may turn his head to the back and hide it inside of his feathers for a deeper sleep.

Sun conure taking a nap over a notebook
Sun conure taking a nap over a notebook

Grating beaks together is also another pleasant sound that parrots do when they’re asleep.

Occasionally, some birds fall asleep on their backs, similar to humans.

Their crops should be full before sleeping and should be empty when they wake up.

Can I sleep with my parrot?

Can you sleep with an open eye? Probably not. That means there is a chance you might roll over your parrot and hurt him badly.

Thus, please avoid sleeping with your parrot. It’s safer this way.

How do I know when a parrot wants to sleep?

Below are a few signs that will help you identify when your parrot wants to sleep:

  1. The most obvious: they’ll put themselves away in their cages and go right to their sleeping perch like big boys.
  2. You’ll see the eyelids getting heavy.
  3. The parrot will get ‘fluffly’. Its feathers will get more relaxed.
  4. The bird might start grinding its beak

Do parrots need light at night? Can parrots sleep with lights on?

It depends on the bird/species. Most of the birds prefer the room mostly dark, the exception being for cockatiels.

They tend to get night frights and need a dim lamp in the area, so it’s not so dark for them.

Why is my bird sleeping so much?

Sleepiness does not normally drive a visit to your vet unless it is tied to another illness-based observation.

Other signs of illness in a parrot are:

  • If they are sleeping on the floor of the cage
  • Always puffing their feathers
  • Acting lethargic
  • Demonstrating loss of appetite.

If you think your parrot is sick and there is a change in behavior, it’s best to bring it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

It is possible that your parrot is going through its first extensive molt. With a heavy molt, it is not unusual for Parrots to sleep more as replacing feathers requires energy, and the more feathers the more energy. You ‘may’ see a slight increase in what your parrot is eating also.

One question to ask is: Is your bird getting the requisite 10-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night? If not, it may be compensating for it during the day.

Another possible explanation is that your bird is bored. Check there are no hanging toys in the middle of his cage, which restrict his movement or prevent him from opening his wings. Rotating toys and having something to chew on helps to get them distracted.

Is it okay if my bird sleeps during the day?

Yes, it’s perfectly okay for your pet bird to take a few power naps during the day. Usually, parrots are active times mostly in the morning and afternoon hours, having 2–3 long naps in between.

However, be aware: a mature parrot sleeping on the floor of her cage is a serious warning sign that something is wrong. Check what is happening as soon as possible.

How do parrots sleep in a cage?

Parrots enjoy sleeping while perched in their cages. They benefit from a quiet and dark environment.


Going to sleepy time junction is a big deal for parrots. It represents a big chunk of their physical and mental health and you should always make sure your pet bird is having enough sleep at night by provided it with a cozy quiet dark room for it to sleep every night.