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Alaska Sleep Education Center

Furry Dreaming: 5 Benefits to Co-Sleeping with Your Dog

Posted by Guest blogger, Emma Williams on Aug 7, 2019 2:22:00 PM

Pet owners are going reaching extremes to ensure their furry friends are living happy, healthy lives. Sometimes it can appear dogs are living better than people nowadays.

Ever see a tiny chihuahua relaxing in a purse or puppies smiling in strollers pushed by their owner? How about dogs wearing little booties that make them look oh so cute? These are a few of many examples of how dogs are living the good life. 

Some argue this “good life” started when dogs said goodbye to the doghouse and hello to their master’s mattress. Although this may be more comfortable for your pup, sleeping with your dog offers many benefits to humans.

Some examples Casper mentions in an infographic include an increased sense of security, eased insomnia, stress reduction, lower blood pressure, and improvement in sleep quality. 

dogsleep

 

Sense of Security 

A study from Christy Hoffman found women felt more secure when their pet accompanied them at night. Having a pet cuddle up next to your feet while resting can help you feel more safe, thus increasing your overall quality of sleep. 

 

It is commonly known that many dogs are inclined to protect their family. This can also result in feeling more comfortable in bed at night. However, dogs that are hypersensitive may hinder your sleep schedule because they are constantly alert. If this is the case, one possible workaround is getting them their own bed or keeping them in a crate in the bedroom. That way they’re still nearby, but less likely to physically interrupt your sleep. You can find some useful information here on how to crate train your dog.

Insomnia

If you suffer from anxiety-induced insomnia, studies have found dogs can help. A study by Mary Rose found dogs lying in bed can help mitigate insomnia. This reduces anxiety levels and can alter hypervigilance and hyperarousal. All of these factors can create a more relaxed environment and fight insomnia. 

 

However, on the other hand, pets (both dogs and cats) can also have the power to disrupt sleep. If your pet is overweight, it’s likely they’ll snore. This is because extra fat may be collapsing their throat, similar to sleep apnea in humans. In this instance, you should work with your vet or read online resources to develop a diet and exercise program. 

Stress

Casper mentions cuddling your pet releases oxytocin in the human body. Oxytocin lives in your blood and is known for improving your mood. Other functions of this chemical include lowering your heart rate and decrease the chemical cortisol. Next time you’re feeling stressed, give your furry friend a cuddle. 

Blood Pressure

Another benefit to sleeping with your dog at night is lower blood pressure. A University of South Carolina, Columbia study discovered a human-dog interaction can decrease blood pressure readings. Simply petting dogs can lower your blood pressure! This shows having contact with your dog while sleeping can keep your levels lower. 

Sleep Quality 

All of the above benefits hinted at the improvement of sleep quality. To be more specific, the Center for Sleep Medicine in Scottsdale found people who slept with a dog in their bedroom had more routine sleep patterns. This conclusion was dependent on sleep efficiency scores of humans and dogs.

 

The experiment monitored people and their dogs via sleep trackers for seven nights. The study found humans had a score of 81 percent and dogs 85 percent. Therefore, Casper suggests sleeping with your dog if you wake up tired often. However, it’s vital that you invest in a mattress large enough for all sleeping humans and animals that offers superior edge support and good motion isolation, like a memory foam or latex mattress. 

 

These five health benefits to sleeping with your dog are just a glimpse. Casper’s research-backed reasons to sleep with your dog infographic highlights 13 total reasons. The infographic also includes scenarios when co-sleeping with your puppy may not be appropriate. These scenarios include if you and your dog are sick, have severe allergies, are light sleepers or when you first get a dog. 

 

Living the good life with your dog can be mutually beneficial. Try cozying up next to your dog for a week and determine if co-sleeping with your dog results in a more rested you. 

Happy dreaming! 

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