Do Dogs Know When Humans Are Sleeping?

Our fur babies are attached to us at the hip. Much of the time, they’ll follow us everywhere. That begs the question, do they know when you’re sleeping?

Yes, dogs do know when humans are sleeping. And if you’re sleeping close to them, they’re most probably watching and guarding you too.

Find out how your dog knows when you are sleeping, how they feel when they sleep with you, and if they like it.

Check out some dog sleeping positions and what they mean, and learn whether dogs really do sleep like their owners.

This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We thank you for your support.
Dogs know when humans are sleeping

Do Dogs Know When You’re Asleep?

Yes, your dog knows when you’re asleep.

They are intuitive creatures, and they know your routines and habits. Dogs can also detect subtle changes in your behavior and your breathing patterns.

This knowledge also comes from their own understanding of sleep. 

Our furry friends are known for being observational. It’s no wonder we think they make excellent guard animals. 

All dogs are incredibly aware of their surroundings. Aside from your sleeping patterns, they can also pick up on stress and your household chaos. 

Some even say dogs can predict the weather and sense when someone is pregnant, sick, or dying.

How Does a Dog Know You are Sleeping?

Dogs know you’re sleeping by using their senses:

  • Sight: Dog owners know that a dog’s sight isn’t their primary sense. But they can see up close whether you are awake or asleep. They get these cues from their fellow dogs, who also have fluttered lids when sleeping. They also check if your chest is moving deeply due to deeper breaths.
  • Touch: Dogs sometimes touch you when you are sleeping. They do this to check the tension in your body and the shift in your movement. They also use their sense of touch to feel your temperature.
  • Hearing: Your furry friend knows the sounds you make when you’re awake. The absence of those sounds allows them to associate it with your sleeping. Or they can associate your snoring with your sleeping.
  • Smell: Dogs smell your cortisol release shortly before you wake up. They associate this smell with the idea that you will start moving and getting out of bed. You know how impressive their sense of smell is!
  • Sixth sense: The sixth sense is synonymous with the paranormal. This sense still lacks evidence, but it’s more genuine than we might think. It’s often more intuitive and includes sensing barometric and electromagnetic changes.

Some dogs know you’re sleeping by observing the environment around them. For example, they know you’re probably sleeping if the lights are off.

Dogs also tend to yawn and fall asleep when they catch you sleeping. After all, they have no one else to talk to or play with. So they mimic your action by catching some Zs.

If dogs know when you’re asleep, it’s also possible for them to know when you’re awake. They also use their senses to check if you’re awake.

For example, if they see that your eyes are open, they understand that you are awake. 

Your dog will also notice that your breathing slowly changes when you wake up. They know that your breaths become shallower and shorter.

Most of what your dog is observing is your breathing pattern. They look at, feel, listen to, and smell your breath. 

Notice if your dog does any of this when you suddenly breathe heavily:

  • wags their tail
  • barks
  • ears up
  • howls.

In fact, dogs can hear sounds from 20 to 20,000 hertz. They can also smell different items from 12 miles away.

When your dog uses their senses to determine your sleeping routine, they become accustomed to it. They will also center their routine around your cycle.

Have you ever experienced being woken up by your dog a few minutes before the alarm? That’s probably because they are already familiar with your sleeping routine.

Dogs know that it’s almost time for you to get up, give them breakfast, and take them out. 

If your dog is well-trained, they will also understand the importance of letting you have a good night’s sleep. They will not make loud noises or try to play with you if they notice signs of sleep.

A good dog shouldn’t wake you up when you’re asleep to pee, play, or eat. They know the proper time to do this is when you’re awake. 

But we don’t exactly know how our dogs understand the concept of sleep. It could be that they know we are in the state of resting. Or they just detect these changes in our body through their powerful senses.

Dogs have the same sleep cycles as us. But they enter REM more quickly than we who sleep in shorter increments. They also dream based on their memory.

How Do Dogs Feel When They Sleep With You?

Dogs are social animals that dislike being alone. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, a common canine behavior problem. 

When your dog is sleeping with you, that is when they feel at ease.

Sleeping beside someone creates a special bond. It is the same for your furbaby. Dogs cuddle with humans, and it symbolizes connection and affection. 

It is in a dog’s nature to sleep in a pile while snuggling. That is because when they were just newborn puppies, the siblings slept in a big pile beside the mother dog. 

They try to recreate this warm feeling by sleeping beside you.

The root of this behavior stems from their ancestors, who hunted and slept together to feel secure and warm during the night.

Dogs also easily notice any small movements when they are beside you.  It’s not always because they feel cautious but because they are naturally observational. 

They may feel relaxed and safe sensing your movements, knowing they are not alone.

But some dogs get easily annoyed when they notice your small movements. It all depends on their breed and temperament. 

Dog Sleeping Behaviors

Like humans, dogs also have sleeping patterns and behaviors such as:

  • Circling and digging movements – dogs usually do these before lying down and going to sleep.
  • Dreaming – like us, dogs can also dream, but it is hard to figure out what their dream is exactly about. We can presume that they dream of the events they encountered during the day since your pup’s brain processes day events while sleeping. 
  • Twitching – this movement occurs particularly when your furbaby is dreaming or when moving in between sleep stages.
  • Barking or squeaking sounds – this reaction may be due to something happening in their dream.
  • Snoring – this is common in dogs with short noses and issues with breathing. 

Do Dogs Protect You When You Sleep?

Yes, dogs will protect you while you sleep.

Dogs are greatly known as protectors of you and your home because of their strong sense of smell.

When your dog sleeps beside you in your bed, it is their way of protecting you and proving their loyalty to you. 

Your dog sees you as their alpha. In the wild, the other dogs sleep around their alpha as a layer of protection. 

Do Dogs Sleep Like Their Owners?

Yes. Dogs have similar sleeping patterns as humans. This is confirmed by several studies

Like humans, dogs also dream about real-life events, whether playing with you, chasing birds, or digging. 

They also experience rapid eye movement, although the process is slightly different.

It’s also possible for dogs to mimic their human’s sleeping position. Our furry friends are famous for voluntarily imitating their owners’ behaviors.

A study revealed that dogs copy some people’s behaviors and body movements in spontaneous ways.

The next time you catch your dog sleeping in a fetal position like you, or hugging a pillow, take it as a compliment. They’re imitating you.

In terms of sleeping duration, dogs are different. They need around 12 to 14 hours of sleep each day, while we need 8 to 10 hours.

But if a dog lacks sleep, they will be more prone to sickness like us. Lack of sleep may often lead to serious health conditions.

What Do Dogs Sleeping Positions Mean?

We can learn a lot about our dogs through their positions when they are sleeping. Dogs can sleep in a variety of positions:

  • Sleeping on their side – means that they feel safe and comfortable in the environment they are in. In this position, our dogs tend to be in a deep sleep.
  • Using their paws as a pillow – they are resting but not in a deep sleep yet. Your dog is still alert and ready to jump up at any moment.
  • Laying on their belly – they are tired but alert. Your dog may be taking a quick snooze but is still ready to hop and play at any time.
  • Curled up in a ball – they are protecting themselves, or maybe they are preserving body heat when the weather is cold.
  • Laying back-to-back with a human or another dog – this position indicates a sense of intimacy. When your dog sleeps with you in this position, it means that they trust you and it is showing you affection.

Learn more about your dog’s sleep positions.

Why Do Dogs Sleep Touching You?

Cuddling up to someone after a long and tiring day is the best feeling indeed, but what does it mean when your dog cuddles up to you?

Dogs, like people, can show affection by simply sleeping next to you. Your dog cuddling up to you could be a compliment or a reaction to your body’s heat.

Because dogs are pack animals, sleeping close to you may indicate that they see you as their alpha. Your dog will stay by your side for your security.

Another reason is that your dog feels safe in your presence. It provides them with a reliable place to lay down and a sense of security.

It can also mean that your furbaby just wants to show you that they adore and care for you. It can be their way of spending quality time with you outside of training and playtime

When your dog sleeps touching you, it is completely natural. Some dogs are cuddlier and more affectionate than others.

Learn why your dogs sleep on your pillow beside you.

Do Dogs Like to Sleep With Humans?

Yes, most dogs love to sleep with you.

Dogs tend to bond with the person who gives them the most attention and provides for them. 

Physical affection solidifies the bond or relationship between you and your fur baby.

For other dogs, it is not just about the amount of affection but the quality. Dogs are social animals, so they love sleeping beside humans.

They see you as their alpha, and their instinct is to protect you at all times – even when you’re sleeping.

There is plenty of research that suggests that sleeping with your dog is good for both of you.

Learn why your dogs sleep on top of you.

Benefits of Dogs Sleeping with their Humans

  • Comfort – Sleeping with dogs can reduce nightmares and benefit PTSD victims. A dog makes us feel comfortable and secure.
  • Decreases loneliness – Sleeping with your dog can help you feel secure and happy. It benefits you and your furry pup because they don’t like being alone either.
  • Improves sleep quality – Humans who slept with a dog in their bedroom had a better routine and were able to sleep more efficiently, according to a recent study.
  • Strengthening your bond – Sleeping together allows your fur baby to feel like they’re a part of the family, and many people believe dogs are easier to train when they’re close to their owners.

Yes, Your Fur Baby Knows When You Are Asleep

Dogs have a natural instinct when it comes to protecting their humans. So it only makes sense that they also know your routine. This includes your sleep.

If your dog stays beside you even when you’re asleep, take it as a blessing. They are being protective, and it means they care a lot for you.

So the next time your dog wants to join you in bed, let them take a nap beside you.

Learn the benefits of dogs sleeping in your bed.