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How Much Do Dogs Sleep? And Other Letters To Purple

Many Purple fans email us, wondering about the sleeping habits of their pets—and other animals. So, we pulled our sleep comfort scientists aside from their regular duties of creating the world’s most comfortable mattress to answer these confounding queries.

How Much Do Dogs Sleep?

why does my dog sleep so much?

Dear Concerned,

Dogs need about 12 hours of sleep per day. They also reserve around 7 hours for simply lying around. Dogs only spend about 5 hours each day actively running, playing, and engaging with their owners, according to the American Kennel Club.

All dogs’ sleep needs change with their age. Older dogs and puppies can sleep as much as 18 to 20 hours.

When a dog is sick or depressed, they may have low energy or act differently. Has Meghan had a big change in her life recently?

Why Does My Cat Twitch When It Sleeps?

why does my cat twitch when she sleeps?

Dear Not Viral,

The ear twitching and leg spasms you’re seeing? That’s good news! It means your cat is in deep sleep, one of the three phases in a typical cat’s natural sleep cycle. For 24 hours, cats move from a series of short naps to light sleep to deep slumbers.

  • Naps — During short cat naps, your cat is a nice relaxed state, but with radar ears still attuned to every creak and crack.
  • Light Sleep — deeper sleep, but still easily roused by sounds and smells. Lasts about 30 minutes.
  • Deep Sleep — Your cat has slipped into a Zen-like, relaxed state, complete with involuntary ear twitching and leg spasms. Lasts about 6 to 7 minutes.

How Do Dolphins Sleep?

how do dolphins breathe when they're underwater?

Dear Stumped Seal,

The answer is as simple as it is weird. To rest, dolphins shut down half of their brain! When dolphins sleep, one side of their brain shuts down, leaving the awake eye open and looking for predators. After a few hours of this one-eye slumber, and dolphin switches and gives the other side some rest.

Do Some Dog Breeds Sleep More?

why is my dog restless?

Dear Sleepless,

Humans bred dogs to produce specific traits—from hunting small burrowing rodents to aiding travelers in the Alps. Our genetic tinkering has produced animals with wildly different sizes, shapes, coats and, yes, sleep patterns.

The Pekingese was bred to be lap dogs for members of the Chinese Imperial court, so yeah, they’re into long bouts of lounging. But the Border Collie enjoys long days of sheep wrangling and late nights of watching for wolves.

But, overall, large dogs tend to be bigger lounging lizards than smaller ones. That extra heft takes more effort to haul around, especially for large working dogs that need endurance and strength. So, your typical 130 lb Bullmastiff will snooze a little longer (and take up more of the bed), than your 17 lb Bedlington Terrier.

how much do different animals sleep?

Cats also adjust their sleep patterns to coincide with their feeding schedules. Indoor cats sleep longer than outdoor ones because there’s less to see and do. But there’s also more food available. Outdoor cats stay longer on the hunt, indoor cats stay longer on the couch.

Are There Animals That Never Sleep?

birds that never stop flying

Dear Baffled,

You were probably flying next to a Great Frigatebird. They fly for two months without landing. How do they stay awake? The answer is: they don’t. Great Frigatebirds take 7 to 12 second micro-naps while remaining aloft. In all they’ll sleep about 40 minutes a day. Move over Night Owls! The Frigatebird has just chugged a double-shot espresso.

Do Dogs Dream?

Dear Fighting,

Yes, dogs do dream. Studies show that rats dream, plus humans and canines have similar brain structures and sleep stages, which suggests dogs share a similar dream experience as humans.

One canine sleep study showed that dogs only began to physically move during the rapid eye movement or REM stage of sleep. That’s the stage when dreaming occurs in humans, too. The dogs acted out the physical movements they were experiencing in the dream — bird dogs pointed at imaginary fowl, Dobermans growled at phantom intruders.

You can tell when your dog is dreaming if you watch for specific signs that he or she is in the REM phase of sleep. Look for changes in breathing and physical twitches. Here’s your dog’s typical road to Dreamland.

  1. Breathing will become regular when your dog enters deep sleep
  2. Around 20 minutes later, breathing will become irregular and shallow
  3. First dream begins
  4. Muscle twitches and eye movements are common here
  5. The dog is now in the REM phase of sleep

Science thinks that younger puppies and older dogs dream more. Part of the reason may be that both ages require more sleep in general. More sleep equals more dreams.

How Much Do Cats Sleep?

why doesn't my cat sleep more?

Dear Dropping,

Cats sleep between 15 and 20 hours each day. Kittens need more sleep than older adult cats, but both do most of their napping during the day and late at night.

But cats are good at adjusting their sleep patterns to their environment, which includes your schedule. They are most active at twilight and dawn hours. So, to spend time with you, they may stay up longer during the day.

Get Maximum Sleep Comfort for Your Furry Friend

Our pets may need more sleep than we do, but they still require a comfortable place to rest their weary paws. Since dogs and cats sleep longer than humans, their bodies spend more time in contact with what you’ve given them to rest on.

Over time, the pressure from your pet’s body flattens and shifts common bed materials like cotton. Cheap pet beds wear out sooner and leave uncomfortable lumps.

Comfort is especially important for older dogs with worn-out hip and knee joints. For pets who suffer from arthritis, hard surfaces are torture — and lead to less sleep!

The worst part? Your little buddy can’t tell you they hate their old bed. They can only look at you with those sad eyes and hope you get it.

Keep your pooch or puss in the lap of luxury by investing in a quality pet bed engineered to conform to their bodies, keep them cool, and last their lifetime. If they had them, your pet would give your two thumbs up.