How Long Do Dogs Sleep At Night?

How Long Do Dogs Sleep at Night?

Dogs, on average, sleep about 9 to 14 hours a night, though this can vary based on their age, breed, and health. While some dogs may sleep more, especially puppies and older dogs, others may be more awake and active during the night. Generally, dogs’ sleep patterns are quite different from humans’, and understanding these differences can help you create a better sleep environment for your furry friend.

Factors Influencing Canine Sleep Patterns

Several factors play a role in determining how long dogs sleep at night. Understanding these can give you insight into your dog’s unique sleep habits.


Age is one of the most significant factors impacting a dog’s sleep duration. Puppies, for instance, need a lot of sleep—often 18 to 20 hours a day—as their bodies are growing and developing rapidly. This extensive sleep helps them with memory formation and learning new skills. Older dogs, on the other hand, may also need more sleep due to reduced energy levels and slower metabolism. Adult dogs typically find a balance, averaging around 12 to 14 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period, with a more consistent sleep pattern at night.


Different breeds have different energy levels, which directly influence their sleep patterns. High-energy breeds like Border Collies may require less sleep compared to breeds known for their relaxed demeanor, such as Bulldogs and Basset Hounds. Large breeds like Great Danes may also need more sleep than smaller breeds because their bodies use more energy for daily activities.

Health and Activity Level

A dog’s health can significantly affect how much they sleep. Dogs dealing with health issues like arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease may require more rest. Conversely, highly active dogs who regularly exercise and engage in stimulating activities may need more time to recover, thereby sleeping longer and more deeply at night.

The Sleep Cycle of Dogs

Unlike humans, who have a longer, consolidated sleep period, dogs’ sleep cycles are shorter and lighter. Human sleep typically includes periods of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, cycling in approximately 90-minute intervals. On the other hand, dogs experience sleep cycles that last about 16 minutes before they awaken and often fall back asleep.

Light and Deep Sleep

Most of a dog’s sleep consists of light sleep. This is evident in their ability to awaken easily if there are disturbances. However, when dogs do enter the deep and REM stages of sleep, they can be observed twitching their paws, whimpering, or even “running” in their sleep. This REM sleep is crucial because it’s when dogs process their day, helping with memory and emotional health.

The Role of Diet in Sleep

A dog’s diet can also affect its sleep patterns. Proper nutrition provides the necessary energy for daily activity and recovery during sleep. Feeding your dog a balanced diet with the right amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates can promote better sleep quality. Avoiding late-night feeding can also help maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Environmental Factors

The sleeping environment plays a vital role in how well and how long a dog sleeps at night. Factors such as the dog’s bed, the room’s lighting, and even the ambient noise levels can influence sleep duration and quality. Providing a comfortable bed in a quiet, dimly lit room can significantly improve a dog’s nighttime sleep.

Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment

Making a few adjustments to your dog’s sleep environment can have a positive impact on the quality of their sleep. Ensuring that their bed is the right size and offers proper support is essential. Orthopedic beds are a good choice for older dogs or those with joint issues. Additionally, maintaining a consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your dog that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Medical Conditions Affecting Sleep

Certain medical conditions can disrupt a dog’s sleep. Issues like sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or even anxiety can make it difficult for a dog to get a full night’s rest. If your dog is frequently waking up at night or showing signs of sleep disturbances, consulting a veterinarian is advisable to rule out underlying health concerns.

Understanding Canine Sleep Disorders

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from sleep disorders that affect their rest. Among the most common are insomnia, sleepwalking (in rare cases), and REM sleep behavior disorder, where a dog may act out its dreams. If your dog shows signs of sleep issues, such as excessive daytime sleepiness or difficulty falling asleep at night, it’s important to seek veterinary advice.

The Impact of Exercise on Sleep

Regular physical activity can greatly influence a dog’s sleep. Engaging in daily walks, play sessions, and mental exercises can tire out your dog, making it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. However, it’s important not to overdo it, as too much activity close to bedtime can have the opposite effect, causing restlessness.

Monitoring Your Dog’s Sleep

Keeping an eye on your dog’s sleep habits can provide valuable information about their overall well-being. Notice changes in their sleep patterns, such as sleeping more or less than usual, which could be an early indicator of health issues. Pet activity monitors are available that can track your dog’s sleep and activity levels, offering insights that may help you and your veterinarian understand any changes in behavior.

Training and Sleep Routine

Training your dog to have a consistent sleep routine can also contribute to better nighttime sleep. Establishing set times for feeding, walking, and bedtime helps regulate your dog’s internal clock. This consistency can lead to better sleep patterns for both you and your pet.

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Behavioral Factors

A dog’s behavior during the day can also give clues about its sleep quality at night. If your dog is anxious or stressed, it may find it hard to settle down and sleep well. Addressing behavioral issues through training and positive reinforcement can improve both day and nighttime habits.

The Role of Social Interaction

Dogs are social animals, and the amount of interaction they receive can impact their sleep. Dogs left alone for long periods may become anxious or depressed, leading to restless nights. Engaging with your dog through play, training, and social activities can help them feel more secure and relaxed, promoting better sleep.

Common Sleep Myths Debunked

There are various myths surrounding dog sleep that can sometimes cause confusion. One such myth is that a dog sleeping a lot is a sign of laziness. In reality, dogs have different sleep needs than humans, and more sleep isn’t necessarily a cause for concern unless accompanied by other symptoms. Another myth is that dogs should sleep through the night without moving. While many dogs do sleep soundly, occasional movement or adjusting positions is perfectly normal.

Finishing Thoughts

Understanding your dog’s sleep needs is crucial for their health and well-being. While dogs typically sleep around 9 to 14 hours a night, this can vary based on factors like age, breed, and health. Paying attention to these factors and creating an optimal sleep environment can help ensure your furry friend gets the rest they need. Regular monitoring and consulting with a veterinarian can help address any sleep-related issues, ensuring your dog remains happy and healthy.

Providing a comfortable and consistent sleep routine can make a significant difference in the quality of your dog’s rest. By considering factors like diet, exercise, and the sleeping environment, you can help your dog achieve better sleep, contributing to their overall well-being. Whether you’re a new dog owner or an experienced one, these insights can help you better understand and cater to your dog’s unique sleep needs.


  • Aiden Lawrence

    I'm Aiden Lawrence, a certified Sleep Science Coach and senior editor of GoodSleepHub, proud parent of two amazing kids, and a pet lover with a cat and a dog. Join me as we explore the world of sweet dreams and comfy pillows. Let's make bedtime the highlight of your day!

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