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Do Emotional Support Dogs Add Value to Treatment For Sleeping Disorders?

Did you know that 37%  of the population is sleeping during the day? 50 out of every 100,000 people have obstructive sleep apnea. And 40% report to have a short sleep duration.

Treatment For Sleeping Disorders

In a nutshell, approximately 70 million American adults have one or the other sleeping disorder. Whether we agree or not, these stats prove that there are a lot of sleep issues growing in our society. 

Sleep specialists work on a combination of treatments that aren’t just always dependent on pharmaceuticals. They try to understand the choices that affect the sleep patterns of a patient. 

And guess what, experts agree that patients can use dogs as a guide in several decision-making processes. Because of this, they provide an effective alternative to traditional therapies.

In fact, co-sleeping with pets is garnering a lot of attention in Western countries. And this is where dogs come in.

Let us learn why there is so much discussion about emotional support dogs being the part of animal-assisted therapy for patients with sleeping disorders 

Dogs and Humans- The History Goes Back to Centuries

Our association with cats and dogs in terms of empathy and a companionship is centuries old. We share an incredible anthropological history. 

That is why humans see dogs as family members rather than a threat or as wild species. 

A detailed study on human-dog relations conducted by the University of Central Lancashire found that more than 40% of pet owners consider dogs as their family member. And this has helped them improve their social compatibility. 

Another thing is that dogs are immensely attentive and somehow have an innate ability to sense the next move of their handlers. 

It’s magical that they understand emotions in such a clear way. They completely decode your expressions like an expert in no time. 

But, does that make emotional support dogs or service animals an effective treatment therapy for millions of patients suffering from a range of sleep disorders?

Well, let’s figure that out ourselves below. 

Also Read: Health Benefits of Having A Dog With an ESA Letter

Sleep Disorders- Can Dogs Help?

Unlike what most of us think, sleep disorders are just not limited to insomnia. There are more than 80 types of sleep disorders that might affect your natural sleep patterns. 

Here we will be discussing some of the major types and if emotional support dogs play any role in alleviating such conditions in any way. 


It is primarily the inability of any person to fall or stay asleep. This is probably the most common type of sleep disorder faced by Americans. 

And, to your relief, dogs have this amazing ability to make you feel secure. This naturally promotes relaxation and mental peace. And this exactly what patients with sleep issues miss.

Emotional support dogs are excellent cohabitants because of their tail wagging, hugging and licking. And the things that make them super sleep partners are- snuggling, guarding, and rhythmic breathing. 

It’s like having a pooch around a person who is anxious about falling asleep will be assured of someone next to them and feel relaxed. Thus, falling into a deep sleep consequently.

Sleep Apnea

It is a potentially debilitating condition where breathing repeatedly starts and stops. If you also snore and sleep full night ending up being tired the next day. 

Then, you might be affected by sleep apnea. 

And, again, dogs are helpful in waving off the triggers that might result in patients failing to breathe properly. Just a paw touch and the patient gets back to the natural routine without waking up. 

It’s like the dog gives the necessary cues to the patient. One can try the masking technique where a patient wears one but a slight change in the position notifies the dog that something is wrong. 


More than 50% of PTSD patients have an acute issue of nightmares. 

The fear of dreams makes someone paranoid when they try to sleep. This is where emotional support dogs come to our rescue

Dogs help mitigate the anxiety which causes mood swings. Also, they help alleviate stress factors that brings about some peaceful sleep.


Narcolepsy is a condition where a patient is unable to control their sleep cycles, and can sometimes even result in loss of muscle control. People with narcolepsy have symptoms of extreme fatigue which easily result in anxiety or depression. 

Sloppy kisses and hugs from dogs make them an excellent therapy tactic. So, lowers the heart rate and blood pressure thereby allowing quick recovery mode. Having a partner by your side makes it possible for you to mitigate any stressful barriers altogether. 

Sleep disorders can make you go crazy as you can’t concentrate on almost anything. Eventually making you less productive. 

Having an emotional support dog by your side can help alleviate a range of symptoms associated with sleep disorders making you reach the right amount and quality of sleep effectively. 

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