Let sleeping dogs lie … in the bedroom. That’s according to a new US study that’s found sleeping with dogs promotes better sleep.
It’s no secret that Americans—just like Australians—love their dogs. According to the American Veterinary Association, more than 40 million American households have dogs. Of these households, 63 per cent consider their canine companions to be family. Still, many draw the line at having their furry family members sleep with them for fear of sacrificing sleep quality.
“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” said Dr Lois Krahn, one of the authors of the study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings and a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on the Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus. “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.”
Dr Krahn and his team evaluated the sleep of 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs over five months. Participants and their dogs wore activity trackers to track their sleeping habits for seven nights.
What the study found is that sleeping with dogs helps some people sleep better—no matter if they’re snoozing with a small schnauzer or dozing with a Great Dane. There is one caveat, however. Don’t let your canines crawl under the covers with you. The sleep benefit extends only to having dogs in your bedroom—not in your bed. According to the study, adults who snuggled up to their pups in bed sacrificed quality sleep.
“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people, in fact, do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” Dr Krahn said.
“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximise their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”