Dogs are by far the most popular pet choices around the globe. Studies have shown how the companionship of a dog can help reduce stress levels. Additionally, dog owners experience lower blood pressure, elevated mood and increased sociability. However, the question that still raises is: “is it ok to sleep with your dog? The debate on the issue of sharing your bed with sleeping pets still rages on among sleep experts. Recent studies have thrown some key findings that prove that the many benefits of sleeping with dogs outweigh the harms of it. Let us therefore look at some of ways in which sleeping with your dog can benefit the overall health of an individual.
Better sleep quality
One of the foremost things that comes into the mind while thinking of sleeping with pets is the problem of nighttime disruptions. A past study, confirms that sleeping with a dog in the bed can prove much less disruptive compared to sleeping with a cat or another human being. The study also suggested that dog owners tend to have an early bedtime and waking time compared to cat owners. Early nights are beneficial for the overall sleep quality. Other researchers have found that sleeping together with a dog can be beneficial for the overall sleep efficiency of the owner as well as that of the dog.
Dogs can reduce the risk of depression in their owner. Owners also report having better sleep when they sleep next to their dogs. When you sleep next to or cuddle your dog the flow of oxytocin (the love hormone) increases in your body. Oxytocin helps bring down the level of cortisol in the body thus combating stress and anxiety. The company of a pet dog reduces the stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Individuals dealing with the problem of loneliness can find a perfect sleeping partner in their dogs. Sleeping together with the dog works to reduce the feeling of loneliness in both the dog and the owner and supports the REM stages of sleep. Dog ownership increases the owner’s physical activity and playfulness. However, one must be careful that the dogs don’t mistake the sleeping time as playing time and bring their toys in the bed. The bed should therefore solely be reserved for the act of the sleeping, thus benefitting both the dog and the owner.
Lower blood pressure
One of the many benefits of having a pet dog around is the marked decrease in blood pressure. According to this past study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, petting a dog or talking to them can facilitate lowering of blood pressure among humans. You must be careful not to accept any aggressive behavior by the dog. Aggressive behaviour can have a negative effect and you should remove them from your bed promptly. Also make sure that the dog is properly housetrained so that you do not have to move your mattress and beddings too often. Here are some tips to move a mattress by yourself or through professional help.
Sense of security
A pet dog doesn’t just guard your house but also provides you with a sense of security when you sleep. Previous studies have found that human beings, particularly women, had a better sleep quality. This is due to the added sense of security while sleeping with dogs. Make sure that the dog is trained properly. You don’t want your dog to become protective towards you and start being hostile towards your partner.
Sleeping together with the dog not only allows synchronization of heartbeats but also provides a feeling of warmth and coziness. This can make you feel less aggressive and more sociable to not only the dog but other human beings in general. Sharing your bed space with your dog becomes even more important when you are away for work and get to see the dog only for a limited time. Experts suggest that sleeping together with a dog helps in the process of training due to the increased bonding.
Lesser heart risks
The chances of getting a stroke or heart attack are drastically lowered when you are co-sleeping with your dog. Having a pet dog promotes physical activity. This activity lowers cholesterol, decreases obesity, and increases the chances of recovery after an acute coronary syndrome such as heart attack. Cardiovascular health benefits such as these and the other mental health benefits mentioned above therefore are reason enough to allow your dog to sleep in with you.
So, is it bad to sleep with your dog or are the harms simply overhyped? We hope that the facts mentioned above help you. Dog owners must be still be careful to regularly have their dogs checked by the vet for any infestation or diseases. Do not hesitate to have the dog sleep separately if it is having a negative effect on your sleep.