It turns out maybe having Fido or Fifi in your bedroom with you is okay, as long as the pup isn’t actually in your bed.
It’s no secret that dogs love to sleep near their favorite humans. And, in many cases, the feeling is mutual.
According to the American Veterinary Association, more than 40 million American households have dogs. Of these households, 63 percent consider their canine companions to be family. Many of these dog owners draw the line at having their furry family members in the bedroom at night, for fear their own sleep may be disrupted.
A new study from the Mayo Clinic says … not so fast.
“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” says Lois Krahn, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and an author of the study. “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.”
The study, “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment,” evaluated the sleep of 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs over five months. Sorry, cat lovers — this study only looked at dogs and their owners. Participant and their dogs wore activity trackers to track their sleeping habits for seven nights.
According to the study, sleeping with dogs helps some people sleep better ─ no matter if they’re snoozing with a small schnauzer or dozing with a Great Dane. There is one caveat, however. The sleep benefit extends only to having dogs in your bedroom ─ not in your bed. According to the study, adults who snuggled up to their pups in bed sacrificed quality sleep.
“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time,” says Dr. Krahn. “Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”
So, go ahead. Turn your sheepdog into a sleep dog. Just make sure they are relegated to their own bark-o-lounger, rather than your bed.
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