The cyclic interaction between daytime behavior and the sleep behavior of laboratory dogs

Ivana Gabriela Schork, Isabele Aparecida Manzo, Marcos Roberto Beiral De Oliveira, Fernanda Vieira da Costa, Robert John Young, Cristiano Schetini de Azevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Sleep deprivation has been found to negatively affect an individual´s physical and psychological health. Sleep loss affects activity patterns, increases anxiety-like behaviors, decreases cognitive performance and is associated with depressive states. The activity/rest cycle of dogs has been investigated before, but little is known about the effects of sleep loss on the behavior of the species. Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, meaning the behavior is most observed at night, but bouts are also present during the day. However, sleep can vary with ecological and biological factors, such as age, sex, fitness, and even human presence. In this study, kennelled laboratory adult dogs’ sleep and diurnal behavior were recorded during 24-h, five-day assessment periods to investigate sleep quality and its effect on daily behavior. In total, 1560 h of data were analyzed, and sleep metrics and diurnal behavior were quantified. The relationship between sleeping patterns and behavior and the effect of age and sex were evaluated using non-parametric statistical tests and GLMM modelling. Dogs in our study slept substantially less than previously reported and presented a modified sleep architecture with fewer awakenings during the night and almost no sleep during the day. Sleep loss increased inactivity, decreased play and alert behaviors, while increased time spent eating during the day. Males appeared to be more affected by sleep fragmentation than females. Different age groups also experienced different effects of sleep loss. Overall, dogs appear to compensate for the lack of sleep during the night by remaining inactive during the day. With further investigations, the relationship between sleep loss and behavior has the potential to be used as a measure of animal welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Article number478 (2022)
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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