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I’ve probably been told more than once that you shouldn’t let your dog sleep in your bed. Because, you know, it’s a dog — he may walk on your bed with dirty paws, chew on your sheets and scratch your mattress.
While all these downsides are possible, science actually confirms that co-sleeping with your furry friend has plenty of benefits for your health.
Are you intrigued about what they are? Then keep reading!
#1 Sleep Schedule Problem Solved
The absence of sleep schedule often results in frequent insomnia episodes and chronic sleep deprivation, which in turn can cause lots of health problems.
The good news is that you can use your dog to help implement proper sleep hygiene in your family! See for yourself:
- Evening walks with your furry friend are the best way to wind down. Slow pace walking sets you in a mood for snoozing.
- All domestic animals have their biological clocks linked to meals during the day. Thus, when your buddy wakes up with the first rays of the sun, he may wake you up as well, asking for food.
- The image of a sleeping dog is incredibly soothing. You may want to join him, which results — yes, you’ve got it right — in earlier bedtime.
“Having responsibilities to your dog also makes it easier for you to become more organized in your daily life.”
#2 Increased Feeling of Safety and Calm
The presence of your dog next to you makes you feel safer and reduces the levels of anxiety, especially if you sleep in a new house.
The 2015 Mayo Clinic Proceedings questionnaire showed that 41% of people, who allowed their dogs to sleep in their bedroom, reported that they felt safer during the night.
Another study conducted on dogs and their owners showed that sharing a bedroom with a barking buddy doesn’t impact the quality of your sleep. To measure this, all study participants wore tracking devices that measured their sleep parameters. After seven days of research, sleep efficiency — a metric that defines how much time is spent sleeping while in bed — was 81% for pet owners and 85% for dogs, which is considered to be a satisfactory level.
And while ‘sharing a bedroom’ doesn’t mean ‘sharing a bed’ — in fact, you can put a dog bed anywhere in the room — the results of the research still show that sleeping with your pet does not cause harm to your sleep.
“Co-sleeping with pets is a common practice over the US. Almost half of the dog owners share a bed with their furry buddies.”
#3 More Warmth and Comfort
Another great benefit of sleeping with a dog is that they’re like natural heating pads. The average core temperature of a dog’s body is around 101-102.5°F (or about 38.5-39°C).
So, if you have cold hands or feet, or live in colder climates, just let your dog into your bed! In fact, he will be happy too, as you both will keep each other warm.
Another comforting thing about dogs is that their rhythmic breathing and heartbeat can work as white noise and lull you to sleep. Studies actually show that sleep therapy with dogs can become a promising solution for certain sleep disorders and may completely replace over-the-counter aids that are currently used.
“There’s even an idiom ‘three dog night’. It comes from indigenous Alaskan people and refers to the practice of taking dogs in your bed during the cold nights to keep you warm. Thus, you can totally follow this tradition!”
#4 Help in Combating Depression
The National Institute of Mental Health states that major depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States. In 2017, their statistics showed that 17.3 million US adults had at least one depressive episode during their life.
Although mental illness isn’t something you can see or touch, it still can significantly affect your life and relationships in the long term.
However, if you have a dog, you totally know how fun and cute these creatures can be. Modern science took a step forward, addressing the abilities of dogs to boost your mood and ease loneliness and turning them into a working solution for depressed and lonely people.
Here’s how dogs can help you:
- Social life. Dogs can help you get to know new people and strengthen the relationships that you already have.
- Physical activity. Most dogs need you to walk them and play with them. Such physical activity is a useful tool in managing depression since it boosts your endorphins level.
- Meaning of life. The most common symptom of depression is apathy — that is, when you basically see no joy in life. Caring for a furry friend can help you feel needed and less lonely. You may even talk to your dog and speak out things that bother.
“The best dog breeds for fighting depression are Labrador Retriever, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Poodle, and Pug. They are active, playful, and have a light temper.”
#5 Relief of Chronic Pain
People with chronic pains are more likely to have disrupted sleep, and amazingly, sleeping with a dog can alleviate these problems.
The University of Alberta conducted a study on clinic patients with chronic pain. After they were allowed to sleep with their pets, they reported a decreased feeling of anxiety during the night and overall ‘positive experience.’
Researchers explain this with the fact that cuddling with a dog releases serotonin and endorphins in the blood. Endorphins are our natural painkillers, while serotonin provides a feeling of happiness and safety.
And the greatest thing is:
Co-sleeping with your dog can also strengthen your emotional bond with him.
Dogs are very loyal creatures, and their owner is the most precious person in the world for them. Thus, allowing your dog to sleep in your bed makes him happy and even more connected with you.