To many of us, our dogs are so much more than just a pet. They are an extension of our family! It is estimated that 55 percent of pet owners co-sleep with their dogs. However, the internet and dog trainers will warn you against sleeping with your dog. So what should you be doing? We are here to give you the breakdown.
The main concerns when sleeping with your dog have to do with allergies, cleanliness, and house training for puppies. We also may not recommend you co-sleep with your pet if you are a light sleeper. Even so, these may not be significant deterrents once we take a dive into some of the benefits. For example, it is widely believed that being exposed to allergens early on can significantly reduce your chances of developing allergies later in life!
Dogs can help you get more REM sleep!
Several studies have found animal exposure and animal therapy to aid in a reduction of depression. They can even increase the flow of oxytocin - known by many as the love chemical. Mental health and sleep are key components in maintaining a healthy body therefore spending extra time with your pet is actually a very healthy choice!
Oxytocin does more than just bond you to your pet. It is directly linked to promoting theta brainwaves which are known to occur during the REM sleep. Sleep is crucial for our bodies and the quality of sleep you are getting makes a difference. Not every sleep cycle has the ability to achieve these deep sleep brainwaves; therefore any exposure that might improve your likelihood of REM sleep is something worth taking advantage of! Powerful pups to the rescue!
Dogs are like built-in alarm systems!
I think we have all experienced one of those nights where we let our fear of a "looming burglar" get the best of us. Waking up to a creak in the floor can cause anxiety and sleepless nights. A recent study done on women showed that the presence of a pet improved sleep quality by allowing them to feel more safe and secure. A dog's instinct is to protect, so if anything is out of the ordinary at night they will surely let you know! Two of the major triggers for insomnia can be hyperarousal and hypervigilance - both of which can be eased by the presence of a pup! Check out this article if you struggle with any sleep disorders.
Feeling safe is important, but having a companion to go to bed with every night can significantly reduce loneliness as well. It is clear thus far that dogs can alter our physical and mental states but does this even translate back into a better night's sleep? The awaited answer is YES! This study concluded that their sleep efficacy score - a variable used to determine how much time you actually spend sleeping while in bed - was higher in individuals who slept with dogs in their room. This means you are more likely to get a good night's sleep with a dog in the room than without.
Clearly, the impact our pets have on us goes well beyond companionship. So if you haven't already, we think your dog should be invited into your bedroom or if you're feeling generous, even upgraded to your bed for some cuddles! Your body and brain will benefit and you will build an even closer bond with your furry best friend!