How Dogs and Humans Sleep
- Human sleeping patterns. A human will sleep on a binary pattern, where he or she sleeps for about eight hours per night and is awake during the day. A human will spend about 25% of his or her sleep in REM sleep, which is the deepest stage of sleep where most dreaming occurs.
- Dog sleeping patterns. A dog will go through various stages of activity and restfulness during the day, spending about 50% of its time in a sleep stage, about 30% in a restful state, and about 20% of its time in an active and fully awake state. Of its time spent sleeping, the dog is only in REM sleep for about 10% of the time. Because the dog spends less time in the deepest stage of sleep, the average dog needs more four to six hours more sleep than the average human.
Differences in Sleeping Dogs
- Activity. Dogs that work with a human on a regular basis, such as companion dogs or volunteer dogs, may begin to mimic the sleep patterns of the human. These dogs may sleep less than the average dog.
- Bored. A dog that is bored or that isn’t getting enough exercise may sleep more than the average dog. You may find that as the dog exercises more or plays with other dogs more, it may end up sleeping a little less.
- Large breeds. A larger dog, especially one that is bred as a guardian, may sleep more than average. It also may sleep more during the day, while being active during the night-time hours.
- Older dogs. As dogs age, they will need more sleep. Many older dogs will sleep more than the average.
- Puppies. A young dog will sleep much more than an average adult dog. Perhaps the puppy will sleep as much as 18 hours per day. As the dog matures into adulthood, it should begin needing less sleep than it needed as a puppy.