Should Your Dog Be Sleeping in Bed with You? Science Says Yes
There’s long been a debate on whether or not you should let your dog sleep in bed with you. It used to be thought by many people that sleeping with your dog could contribute to less restful sleep, but that is no longer the case, according to multiple scientific studies.
Dr. Dog here to explain why you should let your furry friends share the bed if you’ve got the mattress-space for them. Each of the findings below represents what I’ve been able to dig up on the subject. So, sit back and scroll through for all the reasons why it’s better to sleep with your pup than banishing us to the cold floor.
In some cases, such as an injured or frail owner, it’s often better to have your furry companion sleep in a doggy bed near yours. Those suffering from severe allergies may also find it more suitable not to share their bed as it will likely aggravate allergy symptoms.
1. Improves Sleep Quality
Yes, you read that right. Contrary to old, outdated notions, people typically sleep better with their dogs than they would otherwise. Studies show sleeping with your dog results in a higher sleep efficiency score.
Your furry buddy will also help keep you warm during the cold winter nights by conserving body heat. Both you and your dog benefit from that.
2. Ease the Effects of Insomnia
Studies show that sleeping with your dog results in decreased anxiety and hyperarousal linked to insomnia in the nighttime hours.
3. Diminished Nightmares in People Living with PTSD
Having your furry friend share the bed has been shown to help ease nightmares and diminish the severity of PTSD nightmares.
4. Reduces Depression and Stress Levels
Keeping your furry buddy nearby has been found to decrease cortisol levels – the chemical in your brain that causes stress, while increasing oxytocin production – the “love” hormone, released when humans fall in love, experience a hug, or hold their baby. This is a winning combination that will result in you feeling happier and less stressed. Think of emotional support dogs: same concept.
Petting and being nearby your dog helps ease stress throughout the day, and nighttime is no different.
5. Increased Sense of Security
Before modern home security systems, people relied on their trusty guard dogs to keep their home safe at night and alert them if anything is amiss or someone is attempting to gain entry into their home. Dogs have heightened senses, so if something goes bump in the night, they’re likely to alert you by becoming startled or barking.
In studies, people who slept with dogs in the bed were found to have improved sleep quality due to a heightened sense of security and safety.
6. Lower Blood Pressure
A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that human-dog interactions (both talking to and petting a dog) resulted in lower blood pressure. Experimenters measured participants’ blood pressure in three situations: Petting a dog, talking to a dog, and talking to the experimenter. The experiment results revealed that participants’ blood pressure was lowest when petting a dog, a little higher when talking to the dog, and the highest when the participant spoke to the experimenter.
You won’t be petting your dog the entire night because you’ll be sleeping, but getting some pets in with your best buddy before falling asleep should help relax you and lower your blood pressure, making for a more restful night’s sleep.
7. Decreases Loneliness & the Symptoms of Depression
41% of pet owners in a survey said sleeping with their pet provides them with a sense of companionship, making for a more restful and cozier sleep. For someone battling depression, the connection provided by having the unconditional love of a pet can be incredibly beneficial, easing their symptoms.
8. Strengthens the Bond Between Owner and Dog
Sleeping with your dog has been shown to help with socialization and makes training easier and more effective. Who couldn’t use a little help with training their best friend? We dogs want to make our people happy. It’s just a little challenging to learn what our owners want sometimes, but we’ll get it eventually. Maybe a little quicker if we can rest up next to our people.
9. Boosted Theta Brainwaves
Oxytocin — the “love chemical” mentioned above — promotes theta brainwaves associated with REM sleep. This translates to sleeping deeper and with fewer interruptions when sleeping with a pet.
10. Promotes a Healthy Heart and Better Overall Health
Decreased blood pressure and hypertension mean a healthier heart – and a healthier heart means a healthier life. There have even been links between being active with a pet and benefits like lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Make Room for the Dog
Science doesn’t lie, so scoot over and make room for your furry buddies.