During summer, bears do sleep at night, but only for short periods. As they are nomadic, they will sleep anywhere they feel safe, including in a meadow or up a tree.
Bears’ non-hibernation sleeping patterns are sporadic and depend on a range of factors including time of year, levels of hunger, and proximity of known dangers.
Generally, a bear will be active through dawn and dusk, but will often choose to nap during the darkest hours of the night. During Spring and Autumn, bears may only get 4 hours sleep a day.
In midsummer, they’re prone to taking midday naps. In winter, they hibernate for 6 to 7 months and rarely emerge during that time.
Here’s some footage of a bear taking a midday nap:
When Do Bears Sleep?
Bears are busier than most people think. They spend a significant portion of their day foraging, wandering, climbing, swimming, and other activities.
Bears sleep for an hour or two after dusk and awake half an hour before dawn. They’ll also take a snooze once or twice a day.
So, despite being early risers, they’ll sleep for most of the night. They sleep during the warmest portion of the day, which is generally between lunchtime and early afternoon.
Where do Bears Sleep?
When not in hibernation, bears will sleep:
- In secluded meadows
- Up trees
- In briar patches
- Among fallen trees
Black bears will nearly always locate a shaded place to sleep in during the warmest portion of the day. That means black bears will usually retire to densely forested regions around lunchtime and early afternoon, and you will be unlikely to see them.
As they roam far and wide, bears will not have one regular place of rest. They will sleep wherever they feel comfortable. They will often want somewhere that’s safe from predators, so if they feel unsafe, they may head up a tree to rest.
Here’s a great video of a bear taking a nap up a tree:
In fact, many hunters track bears by looking for patches of suppressed grass which may suggest a bear has recently rested there.
Come winter, bears will construct a den in which they can hibernate for 6 to 7 months. They’re more picky about where they will sleep in the winter months. They’ll want a den that keeps them warm and hides them from potential predators.
Do Bears Sleep Daily?
Bears do sleep daily in spring, summer, and autumn.
1. How Long do Bears Sleep in Spring?
Generally, bears will sleep for about 4-6 hours a day in spring.
They will come out of hibernation in early spring, depending on the weather conditions. Even before the snow melts in March and April, bears will start emerging for brief periods before returning to rest.
Hibernation doesn’t just end abruptly. A bear might head out to explore for an hour one day then go back into his den for a few days. He will slowly increase the number of hours per day he heads out until, finally, he stops returning to the den for torpor.
Once it reaches late April and spring has come in earnest, bears will become very active. Because they have lost so much weight over winter, a bear won’t sleep much by mid-Spring. He will be busy foraging for food to regain his summertime weight.
2. Do Bears Sleep in Summer?
By midsummer, bears will have gained their summertime weight, and will be lazily enjoying the beautiful weather. They’re inclined to doze a little more often in midsummer if they have reached a healthy weight.
It’s not uncommon to come across a sleeping bear who has put his head down in a meadow for a midday nap.
Because they roam so far and wide, bears won’t return to their hibernation dens, but will rather sleep wherever they get an opportunity.
They may doze for a few hours before returning to foraging. They are most active at dawn and dusk, while they appear more likely to doze in the darkest hours of the night and hottest hours of the day.
3. Are Bears Active in Autumn?
Bears are very active in Autumn because they need to put on weight for their coming hibernation.
They will forage for food or punce on unsuspecting ungulates to get additional food to fatten up.
They may also be more dangerous to humans in September and October if they are low on food.
The lure of food in bins or campsites, combined with their enhanced need for food to get them through the winter, may mean bears will be more bold about coming near humans in late fall.
Therefore, it’s not uncommon for bears to go back to getting just 4-5 hours sleep a night in Autumn as they prepare for the winter ahead.
What Do Bears Do During The Day?
During the day, bears will forage for food, and seek mating partners. A mother bear will also play with her cubs and teach them foraging skills.
The majority of bears’ foraging and eating occurs between dawn and dusk. They will wander around seeking food and water wherever they can find it.
Mating will also occur in Spring, with the majority of bears mating in June. Males will spend most of the day searching for females during the breeding season.
One mating has completed, the male bear will go back to wandering alone, while the female will stay in her smaller range to forage and prepare for motherhood.
Are Bears Awake At Night?
After foraging for food for an hour or two after sunset, bears prefer to locate a comfy place to sleep for the remainder of the night. They also get up approximately a half-hour before dawn instead of sleeping until daylight.
Black bears are more nocturnal than grizzly bears in places where both species coexist. This may be because black bears want to avoid grizzlies.
Furthermore, when bears dwell near humans, they become more nocturnal.
This is also likely a survival strategy that allows them to avoid potentially hazardous interactions. Black bears that live near cities use the night to sneak in and scavenge human garbage, often full of food leftovers.
Bears like to sleep in the middle of the night and also nap in the middle of hot days. Drought and other climatic conditions may cause food scarcity, forcing bears to stay awake longer to find food.
In general, bears like to sleep after dusk and wake before dawn. Nevertheless, you can still come across bears at night, especially in Autumn and Spring when they’re actively seeking out food to fatten themselves up.
They will sleep up trees, in bushes, and in secluded meadows. They don’t have one spot they return to regularly to sleep, except in winter when they have a hibernation den.