Does having your dog by your side while you’re in bed bring you comfort? If so you’re not alone. A recent study suggests that women sleep better with a dog by their side. It also found that women get better sleep next to their dogs than they do with human partners.
So if you let your dog sleep in bed with you don’t be ashamed — according to this study it might actually be helping you get a good night’s sleep.
How The Study Was Conducted The study was conducted by researchers at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. They collected survey data from 962 American women to investigate the relationship between pet ownership & sleep. 55% of the women in the study had at least one of their dogs sleep in their bed, 31% of the women shared their bed with a cat, and 57% shared their bed with a human partner.
Why The Study Was Conducted Previous research has revealed that sleeping with a human in bed has both positive and negative impacts on sleep, but little is known about the impacts that pets have on our sleep quality. Researchers wanted to look at what effects sharing a bed with pets has on sleep patterns and routines.
The Results of The Study According to the study dogs who slept in the owner’s bed were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with stronger feelings of comfort and security compared to human partners. Dog owners were also found to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than cat owners.
Cats who slept in their owner’s bed were reported to be equally as disruptive as human partners, and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners.
This research aligns with a 2015 Mayo Clinic study that evaluated the sleep of humans and dogs occupying the same bedroom to determine whether this arrangement was conducive to sleep. They found that humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency, but that the dog’s position on or off the bed made a difference.
What To Make of The Results Why do women who sleep with a dog in their bed report better sleep quality? One suggestion is that dog ownership is associated with a strict routine, so that routine may account for those participants keeping to a strict sleep schedule.
It’s important to keep in mind that these are preliminary results. Follow up research is necessary to determine whether or not a pet owners’ perception of impacts on their sleep aligns with objective measures of sleep quality.
And while I’m no scientist I’m adding this to my “another reason why dogs are awesome” pile. Having my dog sleep in my bed makes me feel secure and comfortable, and I’m certainly not alone. According to a recent survey 42% of dog owners allow their dog to sleep in bed with them at night — and judging by this study I think we’re onto something.