Bed sharing with your dog may help you sleep better

Dog in the bed

Is your dog allowed on (or even in) your bed at night? If so, we have some good news: new research has found that co-sleeping with your dog is actually good for you.

The study looked at how people share their beds and bedrooms with their dogs, as well as their impact on human sleep quality.

Of the 1,000 people who took part in the study, nearly half (49%) reported sleeping with their dog in or on their bed. Another 20% said their dog slept in the same room but not on the bed, and in the remaining 31% of households their dog slept outside the bedroom.

Older participants, single people and those with smaller dogs were more likely to share their beds with their dogs. Bed size also impacted the likelihood of bed sharing.

Dog sleeping in bed

Heat map images revealed that when two people co-slept with a dog in a double, queen or king size bed, the dog tended to sleep at the participants’ feet or in the middle of the bed, “presumably where there is the most available space,” said study leader Christy L. Hoffman from Canisius College in New York.

In situations where one person co-slept with a dog in a double, queen or king size bed, dogs mostly slept at human chest level on the bed. For participants who co-slept on a single bed, dogs most commonly slept on the floor beside the bed. When dogs did sleep on a single bed, they typically slept at human chest level.

Nearly a third of the dogs that snuggled alongside their owners slept under the covers; the rest bedded down on top of the covers.

Asked about the impact of co-sleeping on their sleep quality, almost two thirds (65.6%) of participants indicated that their dog “rarely” or “never” disturbs their sleep.

The study, published in the Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, concludes: “We found no association between whether the dog slept on the bed and self-reported sleep quality. However, participants whose dog slept somewhere other than their owner’s bed were 1.45 times more likely to report frequently waking up tired.

“Bed sharing appears unlikely to impact sleep quality negatively in any meaningful way. In fact, in many cases, dog(s) in the bed may facilitate a more restful night’s sleep than when they sleep elsewhere.”

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