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Do dog owners sleep better?

There are many people that sleep with their dogs and can’t do without. Others strongly believe that dogs should not be allowed in the bedroom. The debate will always exist but is there a scientific answer to this question? In this post, I am exploring the pros and cons of sleeping with your furry friend.

You will wake up less during the middle of the night

This might sound crazy to some but a study from the respected journal Anthrozoos suggests that women who sleep next to their dogs have less chance of waking up in the middle of the night. It has to be stated here that results were gathered by interview and were self-reported. That means that they refer to how people perceived the quality of their sleep and not how their actual sleep quality was. However, even the fact that people felt there were fewer interruptions during sleep is important on its own and shows how our canine friends can help us sleep better.

Who is the boss?

Dogs are naturally pack animals. That means that they look up to their leaders, in this case, you! So how this relationship will be affected by your sleep habits? According to the Pet Owners Association, if you invite your dog onto your bed, you undermine your pack leader status. This can have a negative effect on discipline and make training harder. So if you still want to have your dog in the bedroom, then you have to set the boundaries. It’s advised that you create a “safe place” under or next to the bed so your dog feels sheltered and protected. In some cases, you can even put an item of your clothing there so it feels close to you. This is a nice middle solution as the dog will still see you as the pack leader. However, it is advised to set the rules from the beginning as it’s way harder to change your pet’s routine after they are used to behave in a certain way.

Who needs a blanket?

Allowing your dog to sleep next to you can be a controversial decision however it has one clear benefit, especially during winter. Dogs run slightly hotter than humans which make them a perfect “natural heater”! During the colder nights, this extra bit of warmth can help you maintain a more steady sleep but also help you reduce the heating bills! Of course, during the summer nights, this might cause you a problem but here in the UK, we need way more warmth than a breeze! So this is a clear winner here!

Less stress, better sleep

It’s not a secret that stress is the No1 factor affecting negatively our sleep. The less you have the better you sleep. So how does having a dog affects our stress levels? According to this article from the Harvard Medical School, owning a dog can increase mindfulness which eventually decreases our stress levels. Mindfulness is “the ability to live each moment as it unfolds and accept it without judgment”. Just take some time and observe closer your dog when you go for a walk. They are so open to new sounds, smells, people and other animals. Every walk is a new adventure for them and this is how you should start seeing things. So if a walk with your canine friend reduces your stress levels, then go for as many you can cause you will sleep better!

If you are a dog owner all this might sound like old news to you! Regardless of what is happening at the end, dogs are so great that they are even worth the pain of few sleepless nights! But make sure you set your rules for the good of both you and your fluffy friends!