If you ever struggle with sleeping, you know how frustrating that can be and how it can negatively impact you the following day.
Perhaps you’ve got a restless dog who is disturbing you from getting quality shut eye? Resolving this is just as important for you as it is for your dog. Sleep is just as important for our dogs as it is for us.
For humans, one night of poor sleep can mean we are cranky and struggle with productivity the next day. That can be ok for just one day but over time, the accumulation of poor sleep can have long term negative health effects.
For dogs, they don’t have to worry so much about being productive the next day – they can just sleep when you’re busy at work! But if you’re tired and stressed out from lack of sleep, your dog can sense your energy and take that on.
Humans share deep emotional bonds with their companion animals. Because of this connection and because we are all energetic beings, we are regularly transferring our energy to our animals and vice versa.
Some animals will even take on the same illness as their human through energetic transference! I regularly see this with my clients. One client had a stomach issue, so did her cat. Another had kidney cancer; her cat had kidney failure and a liver tumour. The transference can relate to mental or emotional conditions as well; for example, an anxious pet will often have an anxious human.
How does this relate to sleep? If you’re stressed out from lack of sleep or some other reason, your animal can take on that stress and become stressed themselves, negatively impacting their ability to sleep well and their health overall.
Health impacts of poor sleep
Whilst dogs don’t need to worry about being productive the next day, their health can be impacted by lack of sleep. Anecdotal evidence¹ shows that a lack of sleep in dogs can result in more intense reactions to stressful stimuli, irritability and mood disturbances and poor memory. One study² has even found that dogs perform better at learning after sleeping well.
How much sleep do dogs need?
Dogs need more sleep than we do. Puppies need about 11 hours a day. Adult dogs need between 8 to 13.5 hours a day.
How to help your dog sleep through the night?
If you’re finding it hard to help your dog settle and sleep through the night, try some of these tips.
1. Create a sleep routine
Following your own structured sleep routine can help your dog to feel relaxed and identify that it’s time to settle. A typical sleep routine includes:
- having a regular bedtime,
- turning off screens 1-2 hours before bed,
- dimming the lights and doing something relaxing before bed eg reading, yoga, meditation,
- playing relaxing music.
When you create your own sleep routine, your dog should easily slip into that routine with you, fostering a good night’s sleep for both of you.
2. Use of calming aids
There are a number of calming aids, such as essential oils, that you can utilise to help your dog settle. These include:
- Diffusing some calming essential oils like lavender, frankincense, chamomile, vetiver, valerian an hour before bedtime. Diffuse in an open area (eg living room) and make sure the oils you use are pure and are at a suitable dilution for your dog. For diffusing, I recommend 1 to 4 drops per 100ml of water, depending on the sensitivity of your dog.
- Giving your dog a calming flower essence blend about 30 minutes before bed, like my own Serenity blend.
- Giving your dog a calming herbal remedy before bed. This can be as simple as making a chamomile tea and giving to your dog. For added flavour, you can combine with some bone broth.
Like with humans, exercise can improve sleep. Ensure your dog is getting adequate exercise throughout the day, especially if you have a working breed dog.
4. Provide a comfortable sleeping space
Whether your dog sleeps with you or in another room, ensure their bed is comfortable and supportive. Include soft blankets and any emotional objects they might be attached to (eg a soft toy that they’ve had since a puppy).
For more questions, please contact Ruth Hatten at ruthhatten.com.
Ruth assisted in formulating Digestive K9™ gut health supplement for dogs.