How to Help My Restless Dog Sleep at Night

Cocker spaniel fast asleep on a couch
One of my mid day naps caught on camera.

I’ve been called lazy a time or two in my day. Words don’t hurt me, so whatever. I sleep like a log every single night. I’m telling you this to validate my qualifications on sleep advice. You’re wanting to know exactly how to help your dog sleep at night.

Listen up, people. I’m an expert.

Dogs adhere to a polyphasic sleeping cycle. In other words, they take multiple naps throughout the day. Because of their daytime sleeping habits, their night time rest can be drastically affected. By setting up a consistent routine, ensuring their physical activity is at a healthy level, and ruling out any underlying medical issues, you can begin to get your restless dog all of the night time sleep he needs.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

5 Steps to Turning Your Restless Dog Into a Professional Sleeper
1. Set up a routine and follow it daily.
2. Increase amount of physical activity.
3. Rule out any medical condition – speak to your vet.
4. Give your dog nighttime belly rubs.
5. Diffuse lavender essential oils in the room your dog sleeps.

Step 1: Set Up a Consistent Routine for Your Dog to Help Them Sleep

Routine and repetition go hand in hand. I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to repeat this. 🙂

We (all dogs) love, love, LOVE a good routine – We need it – We thrive on it.

Same basic concept as training your dog through repetition.

Routine and repetition – this is not metaphysics.

Let me give you an example. I sleep all day while my humans are out ‘working‘. Who knows what this ‘work‘ stuff actually is, but regardless, it takes them a while to come back home to me. Annoying, but I deal with it the only way I know how – I sleep through the pain of missing them.

Most everyone else would be all slept out by the time night rolls around and their humans are ready for bed.

Not me. I’m right there with them with my sleep mask in paw. Do you want to know my secret?


My humans are meticulously structured in their daily schedule. We wake up at the exact same time every day, they take us out for the morning bathroom break, they go to the gym, come back and cook us breakfast, get ready for work, give us a treat, (I sleep while they’re at work and Callie does who knows what), they come home and take us out, cook supper, play with us, brush our teeth, get in bed, lights out.






Like clockwork.

Routine is everything.

Think about it. If you eat at the same time every single day, you begin to get hungry leading up to your allotted meal times. Same goes for a sleep regimen.

If you go to sleep at the exact same time every night and wake up at the exact same time every morning, your body adjusts and becomes accustomed to those particular times.

Train your dog to fall asleep almost instantaneously with regimented routines.

Red cocker spaniel asleep on his back
Actual footage of me falling asleep instantly at night after a full day of successful naps.

Step 2: Make Sure Your Dog Gets Lots of Physical Activity

Do I really need to go into detail here?

Tired puppies equal sleepy puppies. How does one create a tired puppy? Play time, of course.

It’s no secret that physical activity and exercise in general are extremely advantageous to all beings. It keeps us mobile, energized, healthy, and happy.

I talk about my husky sister quite often in these posts, but just to reiterate, she’s got a lot of energy. When she hasn’t had enough play time she does things that gets her into trouble and gives me anxiety. She chews things she shouldn’t and doesn’t listen as well when she’s all hyped up.

When she is able to go on hikes, long walks, and gets extensive play time in the park with the other crazy huskies, she’s an absolute angel. She listens to our humans, lays around, and sleeps like a koala.

Let me repeat this again for the article skimmers of the world: MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS GETTING AN AMPLE AMOUNT OF EXERCISE ON A DAILY BASIS.

Apologies for yelling. It’s just that important.

Breed specificity may apply, but as a general rule, all pups need around 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise on a daily basis. Typically, the bigger the pup, the more play time they need.

Remember, routine is important.

Schedule this into your daily calendar and soon the activity will feel effortless. However, this should not be a burden to you humans. This is a vital part of taking good care of you dog. Do this for us, we really need it.

Daily exercise in culmination with a structured routine is a literal recipe for sleepy success.

Wear your dog out and enjoy the restful night that immediately ensues.

You’re welcome.

Red cocker spaniel walking around in the kitchen with red and black flannel pajamas on.
Me in my flannel jammers getting ready to brush my teeth before bed.

Step 3: Rule Out Any Underlying Medical Condition

I put this one last because…vet.

You all know I’m not a fan.

Yes, I realize he has my best interest at heart, but I don’t care. He looks at me and touches me and I smell all the other dogs that have been there before and it just FREAKS ME ALL THE WAY OUT.

Stop talking about it, I’m getting worked up.

However, if all else fails, it’s not a bad idea to make sure there’s nothing medically wrong with your dog that’s inhibiting their sleep patterns.

This could more commonly be the case in senior dogs that have a bit of age built up on them. Older dogs are generally more susceptible to medical issues, but of course, this is no guarantee, and of course, I’m no medical professional.

If you begin to notice a change in your dogs typical behavior, this is a prominent indicator that something may be a bit off. Discuss behavior discrepancies with your vet and any probable reasons for the change that you can think of.

We will show you when we’re not feeling quite right, just be sure you’re paying close attention. *Read number 5 in this list for more on this topic*

A Subset of Step 3: CBD Oil

Something I know of that has particularly helped several of my dog friends sleep, is the regular use of a Pet CBD oil. Aside from the massive list of benefits that CBD oil has to offer your pet, better sleep is at the top. I’ve written several articles on CBD oil and even in particular, the exact CBD oil I use. If you’re at all interested, I’ll link them below. No pressure, ignore them if you want.

My personal favorite CBD Oil.

General CBD oil information.

Once you’ve received a clean bill of health back for your dog, maybe give the CBD oil a try in conjunction with the increased exercise and progressive routine implementation.

I truly think that all 3 of the above steps are worth their weight in gold if they’re thoroughly executed on a consistent basis. And the execution of these are all up to you, humans.

Get it together, and help your dog out.

Step 4: Nighttime Belly Rubs Are Critical

Okay, sure, I can see where you might argue that this is self serving at best, and manipulative at worst.

Just hear me out.

Often times, restless dogs are also overly anxious dogs and this is one of the main reasons they have a hard time with sleep and restful nights.

One of the best ways to calm your dog is to rub their belly.

Petting them all over in general will relax your dog while releasing endorphins of euphoria.

The combination of being rubbed by their favorite human plus the actual feeling of being rubbed will combine to adequately prepare your dog for a night of complete relaxation.

Studies suggest that dogs who receive consistent love and attention from their owners are also more relaxed and trusting on a comprehensive level.

Step 5: Lavender Candles and Essential Oils To Help Your Dog Sleep

I absolutely love the smell of lavender.

It puts me to sleep faster than a go-cart speeding around on a Cheerio.

Sometimes I get weird and do strange things at night. For instance, when I pass gas it freaks me out. I run from it. Makes me think I’ve pooped in the floor or something.

Perhaps that was too much information, but I’m telling you this to better illustrate my anxiety and weirdness.

When I get in one of my crazy mindsets, I have trouble resting. I keep my parents up at night because I refuse to lay down and I walk over top of them the entire night. It’s ridiculously annoying – trust me, I get it – but I am the way I am and I’m not apologizing for it.

I digress.

Anyway, as I was saying, when I get in one of these mindsets, my mom will diffuse some of her lavender essential oils in the room and it puts my mind and body completely at ease and allows me to rest and fall asleep.

Every single time.


Sleep is easy. Don’t over-complicate things for your dog.

Minimize stress by creating a consistent schedule, and then maximize energy expenditure by adding regular exercise to this routine.

Do this, and watch your dog fall asleep effortlessly every single night.

If for some reason my 3 step process is flawed in any way, try adjusting for a more custom fit specific to your dog. You know them better than anyone else.

What more do you want from me?

I’ll leave you with this: Continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.

This is all.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

What Can I Give My Dog to Sleep At Night?

As restless dog at night can be a common occurrence. While there are many natural steps to take to ensure your dog is ready to sleep when bedtime comes, sometimes you need a bigger push.

This can come in the form of a supplement.

First, give CBD oil a try. Aside from the sleeping benefits, CBD oil provides a list of other beneficial factors that can increase your dog’s overall quality of life and longevity in the long term.

If you’ve tried CBD oil and have yet to see much of a difference, the next step would be to start supplementing with melatonin chews for dogs.

You can find these at your local pet store.

As always, please consult your vet before initiating any supplemental regimen for you dog.

How Much Melatonin Can I Give My Dog?

Use the following table as a general guideline to follow when administering melatonin to your dog.

Always use caution, follow the recommended dosages per pound of body weight, and be sure to consult your vet before beginning any dog supplement.

Melatonin Dosage Recommendations for Dogs

**Do not give melatonin to puppies 12 weeks or younger or pregnant dogs

Dog Weight (in pounds)Recommended Dosage
10 pounds or less1 mg of melatonin
10-25 pounds1.5 mg of melatonin
26-100 pounds3 mg of melatonin
100 pounds or more3-6 mg of melatonin (start on the low end)
Melatonin chart information aggregated from 1800 PetMeds

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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