There are now service dogs specially trained to help people SLEEP! That’s according to a report in the journal Sleep Review.
First, specially trained service animals can help people suffering from anxiety or PTSD, who often have paralyzing nightmares. The dogs are trained to immediately wake owners having a nightmare, which is something no medication can do.
For people who suffer from narcolepsy, sleep service dogs are trained to provide up to a 5-minute warning of a sleep attack, giving the person time to prepare themselves and avoid injury.
And sleep service dogs can also help people who just can’t seem to fall asleep, or who suffer from insomnia. The report says dogs can relieve anxiety-induced insomnia – which is when you can’t fall asleep because your mind is going in circles. And when people with anxiety DO fall asleep, they often don’t get deep sleep. Their brain stays in the lighter stages because stress hormones keep it in a state of hyper-vigilance because the body thinks there’s always an imminent threat. But because dogs make us feel safe and secure, they can help reduce stress hormones and help people with anxiety sleep more soundly.
So the latest prescription to help people sleep may be to get a dog!