Promoting & Maintaining Wellness Part 7 – Rest
By Dr. Jeannie Thomason, co-founder of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy
Rest is one of the 8 laws of health which is often overlooked and yet its benefits are vital for promoting and maintaining wellness.
Rest plays a major role in our companion animal’s good health (as well as our own) and well-being throughout his or her entire life. Getting enough rest and quality sleep can actually help protect their mental, physical and emotional health determining their quality of life.
Proper rest and good sleep are required to truly thrive in life.
Rest, and especially good sleep is involved in healing and repairing of the heart and blood vessels, cell renewal, maintaining a healthy balance of hormones, detoxification and enhances learning and problem-solving skills. The immune system relies on rest and sleep to stay healthy. The immune system defends the body against foreign or harmful substances.
Sleep helps the brain work properly. While your animals are sleeping, their brain is forming new pathways to help them learn and remember information, especially the information gained prior to sleeping.
Animal and human studies alike, suggest that the quantity and quality of sleep have a profound impact on learning and memory. Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory. Sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information. It has recently been found that when training a young animal (puppies in particular), that if the animal can take a nap or go to sleep just after the training session that the next time you work on training you find that puppy has much quicker responses and has remembered the response you were training for.
The average dog sleeps for about 12 to 14 hours per 24-hour cycle. That’s just the beginning, though. Puppies, who expend a lot of energy exploring and learning may need as much as 18 to 20 hours of sleep!
A dog’s sleep cycle affects their mood, just as our sleep cycle can affect our own moods. If the dog is not getting sleep in a dark, quiet place, it can affect the way they interact with us and other dogs. Good, proper sleep is important for a good night’s sleep in order to create positive pack interactions.
A dog’s natural instincts tell them to sleep in quiet dark places. If possible, give them a bed in a room where there are no electronic devices or lights on. Use room darkening shades or drapes if you need to and turn off the TV, phone and computer for a good nights rest. Another way to ensure your dog is getting enough sleep is to make sure they are getting enough exercise while they are awake; a tired dog is a sleepy dog!
Horses, who can sleep both standing up and lying down, can doze and enter light sleep while standing, an adaptation from life as a prey animal in the wild. Horses do not need a solid unbroken period of sleep time. They obtain needed sleep by many short periods of rest. Horses may spend anywhere from four to fifteen hours a day in standing rest, and from a few minutes to several hours lying down. However, not all of this time is the horse asleep; total sleep time in a day is said to range from several minutes to two hours. Experts state that horses only require approximately two and a half hours of sleep, on average, in a 24-hour period and that most of this sleep occurs in many short intervals of about 15 minutes each.
Rest from work – agility, hunting, dog shows, the noise, the excitement, etc. will do wonders to relieve stress and bring a calm healing vibrational frequency to the body.
Proper rest and sleep is critical to promoting and maintaining wellness!