One of the things most people believe when it comes to sleep is that pets are one of the biggest annoyances. The reason we think this to be true is that pets can often wake you up in the morning before your alarm clock, wanting to go outside or to be fed. This is especially true with dogs, who are prone to jump on the bed with you, lick your face and bark loudly until you’re finally awake.
These can seem like big annoyances that leave you feeling groggy in the morning, but one study is showing that having a dog in your room while your sleep can actually improve how you sleep overall! According to the study conducted by the Center for Sleep Medicine with the Mayo Clinic said that it doesn’t matter what type of dog, as any dog will help you sleep!
Dr. Louis Krahn was the lead author of the study, and she said that “Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” but that “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets. The study took samples from 40 different adults with dogs that slept in their rooms, and weighed in different factors. Both the dogs and humans were wearing motion trackers while sleeping over the course of one week.
It turned out that having a dog in the room was able to help achieve an average sleep efficiency of 83 percent, when anything above 80 percent is considered to be very good. However, people that let their dogs sleep in the bed with them didn’t have as much efficient sleep, though they still gave satisfactory numbers at 80 percent efficiency. These people also woke up more often throughout the night.
Dr. Krahn said that “Presumably, humans accommodate the needs of their bed partner in an effort to promote sleep in a manner that even the most well-trained dog does not…To have a purring cat or a well-behaved dog nearby may be very relaxing and conducive to sleep. Provided everyone sleeps well, it can be a benefit.” She also noted that relationships between people and pets have changed over the decades, with more people wanting to spend time with their pets after being out of the house all day.
The study only took people that have one dog, though, as Dr. Krahn warned that having more than one pet in the room with you could reduce sleep. Often, these animals will communicate and interact, which can lead to disruptive noises or movements that will wake you up. While the researchers have said that it’s a positive outlook, the totality of the survey didn’t take a wide range of people or breeds of dogs, meaning that they have more work to be done. Still, the base research is positive for those that love their pets.
“My main recommendation is for people to take a look at their setup and carefully consider whether it is truly working or not, and not allow loyalty to their pet to blind them to consequences that aren’t desirable to their sleep,” Krahn said. She also stated that over the course of the study, dogs were able to sleep just fine around their humans. “Regardless of location or an additional human bed partner, dogs seemed to rest well.”
On average, dogs sleep for 12 to 14 hours per day depending on the breed, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they’re able to doze off even if you aren’t. In case you were wondering, dogs have a similar sleep pattern to humans, though it’s a few hours longer, and they actually have dream patterns just like us! You’ve probably heard their dreams while you were trying to sleep at one point, which is quite common among pet owners. Surveys have also recently found that 71 percent of pet owners sleep in the same room as their pets, while 43 percent sleep in the bed. Even 11 percent of those dogs get a pillow of their own, meaning some dogs are really living the life of luxury!