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Why do dogs sleep so much?

Adequate sleep for both humans and dogs is critical for mental and physical well-being. And just like humans, a lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system which makes them more susceptible to illnesses, as well as having a negative impact on their mood state including whiny and needy behaviour and overall restlessness.

So just how much sleep do dogs need?

On average, adult dogs need 12-14 hours of sleep every day - which includes solid nighttime sleep and daytime naps. Older dogs may need even more sleep to rest and recharge as they tire more easily than younger dogs. While 14 hours sounds excessive compared to the recommended 8 hours of sleep for humans, there are very valid reasons why dogs need more sleep than us.

During sleep, we enter restorative phases commonly referred to as ‘REM’. It is during this deep sleep that the body begins its healing process by restoring tissue and strengthening the immune system.
In humans, REM represents 25% of our total sleep cycle, whereas in dogs this only constitutes about 10% of their sleep cycle. This results in them feeling less refreshed after a sleep and why they can need up to double the amount of sleep that humans do.

Dogs also have scattered sleep patterns as they constantly wake to check for any environmental threats or dangers throughout their 24-hour sleep cycle.

Changes in sleeping patterns
If there have been no changes to your dog's routine (eg. no change in diet or exercise regime) and your dog is no longer napping during the day and becomes restless at night, this is not normal and can be a sign of more serious issues.

If there are sudden changes in your dogs' behaviour, a visit to the vet is in order. There could be an underlying illness, injury, or even anxiety issues that will need to be addressed by a professional.