According to a study published by The Royal Society scientific journal, dogs experience disturbed sleep patterns when stressed.
Researchers monitored the sleep patterns of sixteen pet dogs after “positive” experiences — like being caressed by their owner and playing games– and “negative” experiences such as being approached threateningly by a stranger.
Much like us, canines having positive experiences slept peacefully, while those who were exposed to negative experiences spent a troubled night, spent more time in REM sleep (the active sleep stage characterised by increased heart rate) and woke up more quickly.
The researchers attributed this to something called stress-induced quiescence — a protective sleep in response to stress. The study also highlighted that the stressed-out dogs fell asleep faster — even though they didn’t sleep as well.
“(This is) a phenomenon that can be induced by several stressors, and that can also be observed as part of the human immune response during sickness,” they wrote.