Sleeping with your dog, is it better or worse for a good night's sleep?

Healthy Sleep Practices

Dr. Claire Stevens

Dog in bed with sleeping mask

A whopping 55% of pet owners have their four-legged friends in bed with them each night. But the question remains is sharing your bed with your dog a good idea?

Let's dig into the benefits that come with having your pup as a sleep buddy:

  • Reduced Depression: Interacting with dogs has been proven to reduce depressive symptoms. Who needs a therapist when you have a loyal dog snuggled beside you?
  • Promotes Theta Brainwaves: Sleeping alongside your dog can lead to the promotion of theta brainwaves, enhancing your REM cycle.
  • Increases Sense of Security: No more nightmares with your vigilant protector beside you. Your dog's instinct to guard helps people sleep like a baby, knowing their dogs are on watch.  
  • Decreases Loneliness: For those battling solo nights, a wagging tail next to you can work wonders.
  • Improves Sleep Quality: Forget sleepless nights; studies show that sharing your sleep space with your furry friend leads to better sleep for both you and your pup.
  • Reduces Stress: The ‘Pet Effect’ is real as it lowers stress levels and boosts your mood. Just one cuddle session with your pet releases oxytocin, the ultimate stress reliever.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure: Studies suggest that petting and interacting with dogs can keep your blood pressure in check.

But it’s not for everyone! And I must confess, I love my dogs beyond words, but I don’t allow them in my bed for some of these reasons.

  • Training and independence: I recommend owners focus on creating boundaries and crate training long before ever inviting them into their sleeping sanctuary.
  • Co-sleeping may predispose your dog to separation anxiety: With separation anxiety on the rise in dogs, it’s important to ensure that dogs are confident on their own, both day and night.  
  • If you have allergies: For those with sniffle-inducing allergies, sharing a bed with your dog might not be the best idea. Opting for a separate dog bed nearby can still provide the comfort and benefits of closeness without the risk of triggering allergies.
  • If you are a light sleeper: Doggy dreams and midnight snores may not be the lullaby you had in mind. If you're easily awakened by your pet's movements or sounds, encouraging them to snooze in their own bed can lead to a more restful night for both of you.
  • If you or your dog have health issues: While the presence of a dog can bring numerous health benefits, there are instances where co-sleeping may not be the safest option. If either you or your pet are unwell or dealing with health issues, it's important to prioritise recovery and comfort, which may mean separate sleeping arrangements for the time being.

Remember, every dog and owner duo is unique, so it's about assessing what works for both you and your fluffy companion. Whether you choose to snuggle up together or opt for separate sleeping spots, the most important thing is ensuring a safe, comfortable, and restful environment for all.



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