Snoozing with your dog improves rest, as long as you don't do this
A better night's sleep takes a little discipline.
The dog owner who doesn't like a snuggle cuddle with their fur person is a rare breed. But the domestic laws that govern sleep quarters are polarizing - often within the same household. Daddy says it's okay for four-legged family members to jump into bed but mommy's not having it or vice versa. Mattress real-estate is precious after all, as are the number of genuinely restful hours we get to spend in the arms of Morpheus every night.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic has applied sleep science to the issue of pets in the bedroom and the data may settle some arguments. Or cause some, depending. Still, the science is clear: if quality of sleep remains dear, your pup is welcome to snooze in the bedroom, but not the bed.
Aptly titled "The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment," the study aimed "to objectively assess whether a dog in the bedroom or bed disturbs sleep." To track the sleep quality of some decidedly dog leaning people, 40 humans and their respective puppers were each strapped into accelerometers for a full week of sleep (seven nights) as they shared close but comfortable quarters. Consider that all dogs were older than six months - so no actual puppies were pinballing around the room.
Sleep medicine specialist, Lois Krahn, confirms what you may already suspect. "We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets". But pet proximity came at a price. Dogs who shared a bed with their owners robbed them of quality sleep as compared to furballs who had their own beds within the same small sleep space. Important aside: if your house hound is too excitable, play more reggae at home. Actually.
Ultimately, Krahn says "a dog's presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected." But that unravels when we let our mutts under the covers. Once again, science proves a better night's sleep just takes a little discipline. If it has a tail and a wet nose, it should have its own little mattress. Resist the urge to spoon until morning.
So sufficiently sloppy good night kisses then separate beds for your most restful sleep. You'll get the psychological benefit of having your buddy nearby without getting jostled awake or scratched to ribbons when your doggo starts sleep barking/running through that recurring dream of the cat who drives a car with a bumper made of sausage links (I'm guessing).
Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen
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