The Importance of REM Sleep in Horses

Inevitably if you scroll through popular social media groups for horse people, you see a pattern of questions involving horses who fall down asleep suddenly in their stalls, and their owners are worried that they are narcoleptic. But what appears to be narcolepsy is most often a case of sleep deprivation. And yes, that does exist! Just like us, horses have natural sleep cycles and require REM sleep. But in order for them to get REM sleep, they have to be able to lie down on their sides - which means they need both the actual physical space to do so, and the conditions in which to do so comfortably.


If your horse is suddenly dropping to the ground from standing, it's always best to have the veterinarian come out. But it is very likely that sleep deprivation is the culprit. Continue reading below for the hows and whys!