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We know people are divided over whether sleeping with a dog on your bed is a good idea. And while that’s a personal choice, the pro-dog team just got a little boost. Journal of the International Society of Anthrozoology have published a snappily titled study called, “An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing.” As the name suggests, it looked at the sleep habits of 962 US women to see who slept better–those tucking in with a dog or human partner.
How Dogs Impact Sleep
They observed that “Compared with human bed partners, dogs who slept in the owner’s bed were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with stronger feelings of comfort and security.”
They also noted that people sleeping with a dog tended to go to bed and get up earlier. Although that could be circumstantial; as people who get dogs as pets may be more likely to jump out of bed at 7AM anyway.
What About Cats?
Perhaps most controversially, dogs also beat out cats: “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.”
The authors do note that “Follow-up research is necessary to determine if pet owners’ perceptions of pets’ impacts on their sleep align with objective measures of sleep quality.” Because the data was self-reported it could be saying more about how dogs make people feel (e.g. you relax with a dog near and hence sleep better) than directly reflecting on how disturbing they are at night.
Although, a previous study carried out by the Mayo Clinic also found there were benefits to sleeping with a dog: “Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog’s position on/off the bed made a difference. A dog’s presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected.”
Obviously, this all depends on the pet (and person), where they like to sleep, and their own sleep habits. If a dog snores it’s still going to be a disturbing presence on your bed, no matter how relaxed they make you feel. But for now, consider this a good rebuttal next time someone tells you to put your dog on the ground.
For more life with dogs: