ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Importance of REM Sleep in Dogs

Updated on December 28, 2019
Deep sleep is important for dogs.
Deep sleep is important for dogs. | Source

About REM sleep and dogs

Did you know that REM sleep is very important for your dog? The saying "let sleeping dogs lie" is there for a very good reason. Truth is, dogs, just as humans, need their daily dose of beauty sleep in order to function well and deal with the ups and downs of life. The amount of sleep your dog gets depends on several factors. Personality, lifestyle and the environment certainly play a role. Your dog's size and breed also have to do with it. For instance, very large dogs such as mastiffs, Saint Bernard's and Newfoundlands tend to snooze much more than smaller dogs.

Dogs may seem like they spend a lot of time sleeping, but we must consider though that they wake up more frequently compared to us humans. The common cartoon image of a bulldog sleeping with one eye open and one eye closed, is quite close to reality. Dogs may sleep lighter during the day if there are things going around them or if they feel unsafe. Noises will frequently awaken them if they are on guard duty.

How much does the average dog sleep? It can be anywhere from fourteen to eighteen hours a day. Again, this depends on lifestyle and other factors considered above. Obviously, a bored dog is more likely to sleep than an active dog who is used for working on a farm or engaged in activities such as police dogs at airports. As in humans, sleep is very important to dogs. In the next paragraph we will see why it's crucial for Rover to attain sufficient sleep and most of all, quality deep REM sleep.

The Importance of REM Sleep in Dogs

Why is sleep so important for dogs? Sleep allows dogs to recuperate from the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisone, explains Dog Behavior Psychologist, Lizi Angel. When dogs are sleep deprived, stress hormones will build up and they will have an impact on the dog's behavior. When stress hormones are around for too long, dogs are more likely to be reactive and are more prone to display aggressive behaviors as their impulse thresholds are lowered. They are likelier to overreact, and with less provocation. To better put it in words, Jerome M. Siegel, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA Center for Sleep Research, claims: “The major function of sleep is to increase behavioral efficiency.”

Other than lowering the amount of stress hormones, during sleep an important neuro-hormone is released from the pineal gland, further explains Lizi Angel. This neuro-hormone is called melatonin and it plays an important role in promoting quality sleep and regulating the sleep-wake cycle. On top of that, it also protects the body's cells and strengthens the dog's immune system.

Dogs share the similar sleep patterns to humans. When your dog drifts into dreamland, initially he will enter the slow wave pattern of sleep, a lighter form of sleep. He will lie still, breath slower and will be oblivious to his surroundings. At the same time, his blood pressure and temperature drops and his heart rate decreases. If the dog is not awakened during this phase, he will enter the active stage of sleep which is known as "REM".

During REM sleep, your dog's heart beat quickens, the eyes will roll, his feet and legs may move, his body may twitch and he may even bark or whine. The dog's heart rate and breathing rate also becomes irregular. It is estimated that sleeping dogs spend 10 to 12 percent of their sleeping time in the REM stage. Puppies are notorious for spending much more time during this phase. In puppies, this helps them develop. For more on this read "why puppies twitch during sleep."

REM is the most important phase of sleep. It helps restore energy and regenerates. In a study on rats, deprivation of REM sleep resulted in a shortened life span (from 2-3 years to 5 weeks). In dogs, this is still being studied. Francis Crick, theorizes that REM helps get rid of excess information and being denied REM sleep could trigger obvious behavioral disturbances and a backlog of REM. Dog trainer Chris Rose makes it an important point to ask his clients how much their dogs sleep throughout the day. He encourages deep sleep patterns as part of his treatment plan to encourage the natural healing process for dogs. I must confirm that, haven seen my fair share of anxious, reactive dogs recuperate nicely after being allowed the luxury of deep sleep.

Alexadry, all rights reserved©, do not copy.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      6 years ago

      That's my mother in law's Doxie, she loves to sleep under blankets. very cute!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I like the photo and I like dogs. They make beautiful pets. I learned more about dogs from your interesting hubs.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)