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Trained Dogs Could Help People With Excessive Day Time Sleepiness

Update Date: Dec 14, 2012 05:38 AM EST

Quoting the example of a 35-year-old patient who suffers from severe excessive day time sleep disorder, researchers in Belgium suggest that dogs can be helpful for patients with severe sleep problems.

The patient who they quote the example of suffered sleep attacks up to six times in a day and would sleep for 16 hours straight in one day.

The sleep disorder hampered her social life as it was difficult for her to travel in public transport because of her problem. Very often, she used to fall asleep minutes after boarding a public transport and wake up only at the end of the line. She would struggle with sleepiness on her way back and sometimes even forgot where she started from.  

It was only recently due to the limited effect of medication, she was introduced to a charity that provides trained dogs for visually impaired or deaf people.

The dog is first trained to wake the patient with the sound of the alarm clock in the morning, even if it took the animal up to half an hour of gentle biting, Medical Xpress reports.

Then, the dog was trained to wake her up when the cellphone rang and finally the dog learnt to wake her up if necessary at every metro, tram, or bus station, the report said.

With the help of the trained dog, the patient has finally been able to move around independently and efficiently, say the authors.

"The intervention could benefit other patients with similarly extreme and treatment resistant daytime sleepiness," they conclude.

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