Are You ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree’ by Sleeping with Your Dog?

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Newswise — SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Let sleeping dogs lie … in the bedroom. That’s according to a new Mayo Clinic study that’s sure to set many tails wagging.

It’s no secret that Americans love their dogs. 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. Still, many draw the line at having their furry family members sleep with them for fear of sacrificing sleep quality.

“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. Participants 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. Don’t let your canines crawl under the covers with you. 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, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” 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.

The study, which was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, was funded by Mayo Clinic.

Source: http://www.newswise.com/articles/are-you-barking-up-the-wrong-tree-by-sleeping-with-your-dog

Learn more about sleep:

Sleep and Time with Pets Helps People Living with Bipolar Disorder

5 Celebs Who Depend on Their Emotional Support Animals

3 Comments
  1. My dogs (two boxers) sleep in bed under the covers with me. I’ve had big dogs sleep in bed with me ever since I was a teenager. It’s just a part of my life.

    One big benefit for me as a bipolar person of having dogs around is when I hallucinate, if the dogs don’t react then I can be pretty sure it’s not real. This is a huge comfort at times–especially when I hear loud noises or people walking around the house. The dogs also get me out of bed on a regular schedule because they have to be fed and let out whether I feel up to it or not. To let them out I have to go outside, and to go outside I have to get dressed in street clothes. It’s a win/win.

  2. My dog sleeps in bed with me, and she knows I own the bed. She’s a comfort when I’m down and helps me sleep better, at least I think. I feel the hardest part would be when they pass. Then you feel lonely. So I would agree with that part of the study, if it was included.
    But for me and my companion, I vote for she can sleep In my bed anytime.

  3. I think showing a picture of a person with his/ her dog sleeping blissfully together in bed might be sending readers a mixed message if the point of the article was to have the dog in the bedroom but not the bed. Maybe clarifying more ways to accommodate the dog in the bedroom could be stressed. Anyway, I agree completely that dogs are great sleep companions. I have three in my room and I do find if all three ( small) dogs are in bed at once with me I can easily wake up with a tail wag in my face or my lack of ease of movement.

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