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How Service Dogs Help with Sleep Safety

Do you have a sleep disorder that makes you terrified to go to bed? I have news for you: a man’s best friend can lend a helping paw! We’re going to tell you all the ways how service dogs can help with sleep safety, showing perhaps a whole different perspective on how amazing canines are.

What Is a Service Dog?

Service dogs are distinguished from emotional support animals and therapy dogs because they must undergo rigorous special training at an organization or at home. A truly exceptional assistance dog is relatively pricey, which most families cannot afford.

Training service dogs to assist people with sleep difficulties is simpler than training any other type of support dog.

In comparison to guide dogs, sleep-disorder service dogs pose fewer hazards and require less work. This is one of the reasons why individuals have begun training their household dog to become a service dog for sleep disorders in recent years.

Service dogs are recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are permitted to visit practically all public venues following online registration.

Sleep Apnea

Service dogs can aid those who suffer from sleep apnea. However, service animal adoption for sleep apnea (as well as for other sleep disorders) is not yet prevalent.

As with any other disease or illness, a dog’s capabilities are largely determined by its training. Sleep apnea therapy using service animals is still in its infancy. However, research indicates that dogs have a great deal of promise for those who suffer from such a condition.

The primary issue with sleep apnea is its unpredictability. Symptoms can manifest at any time during the night. Because you’re already asleep, it’s unlikely that you’ll notice them. Even if a brief gasp for oxygen can wake you up for a mere second, the discomfort is insufficient to fully awaken you.

As a result, you may continue to experience pain.

With appropriate training, service canines may learn to alert you to potential problems. They can arouse you if your breathing is disturbed or if a specialized breathing apparatus falls off. Dogs are cunning creatures capable of picking up on subtle clues.

Owners of service dogs are already alerted to changes in blood sugar levels, autoimmune flare-ups, probable seizures, and allergies. It is not unreasonable to teach kids how to recognize changes in their breathing patterns.

PTSD & Insomnia

Insomnia is a very often reported sleep condition related to PTSD and has been linked in certain cases to nightmares and suicidal ideation. In the end, sleeplessness, like other health disorders (chronic pain, impaired immunological function, etc. ), can exacerbate pre-existing problems.

While there is still much to understand about PTSD and sleeplessness, we do have evidence that veterans with PTSD benefit from working with service dogs.

Specifically, research with veterans in this area has indicated that obtaining a service dog and training helps to alleviate PTSD symptoms while also having lingering effects on anxiety, sleep problems, and nightmares.

While offering comfort and companionship is an important component of a Service Dog’s mission, intensive training enables these canines to provide specialized care for specific PTSD triggers and symptoms.

Trained service dogs can help a person suffering from PTSD awaken from dreams, carry medication on order, and seek assistance during a panic episode.

These canines are extraordinary in their abilities to read people and circumstances and solve problems on the fly. While other forms of rehabilitation can and should be employed as necessary, the continual attention provided by a service dog is unmatched.

Narcolepsy

Service dogs are a relatively new method of assisting persons with narcolepsy in living more autonomous and secure lives.

Certain canines can be trained to detect subtle changes that occur as a person with narcolepsy approaches an assault. The dog then barks, nudges, or licks the person to alert them. This allows the individual to sit or lie down in a safe location.

Additional beneficial duties that a narcolepsy service dog can perform include the following:

  • Obtaining medication.
  • Standing guard over their person in order to avert crime.
  • Obtaining assistance or dialing 911.
  • Serving as a safe landing zone.
  • Reminding the individual to take medication at a specific time.
  • Awakening the individual with a lick.

Some persons who suffer from narcolepsy also suffer from anxiety. Dogs can be trained to give hugs or apply pressure therapy to individuals experiencing panic attacks, anxiety, or high levels of stress. Getting out and walking the dog can help combat other narcolepsy symptoms, such as hypertension, obesity, and lethargy.

Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is a serious form of sleep disturbance. A properly trained service dog can significantly lower the danger of sleepwalking.

For instance, in addition to strolling beside the owner, they may think independently and deal with the emergency by closing the windows and doors and clearing any obstructions on the floor.

Parasomnia

These disruptive sleep disorders include sleep paralysis, night terrors, bewildered awakening, and outbursts. Depending on how parasomnia manifests, a service dog can awaken its owner, summon assistance, retrieve medications, or restrict its owner’s movements to prevent self-injury.

You might want to check: The Benefits Of Sleeping With Your Dog

Final Words

There are many ways in which service dogs can help with sleep safety. There is a lot of promising research on the topic and many people have reported positive experiences with sleep dogs.

Aside from assisting you with safety and assurance as your sleep disorder manifests, some can literally be trained to call the emergency services.

Photo credit: Shine Caramia/Shutterstock; Jus_Ol/Shutterstock;
Africa Studio/Shutterstock; Jeroen van den Broek/Shutterstock;
panco971/Shutterstock; Dmitriev Mikhail/Shutterstock