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5 Surprising Reasons Your Dog Should Sleep In Your Bed Every Night
Over 42.5 million American households have at least one dog as a companion, according to Psychology Today (1).
Dogs do a lot to lift our spirits: they encourage us to play, exercise, and unlike some family members, they're always happy to see us when we get home.
It's natural to want to include your dog in as many activities as possible, including letting them sleep in bed with you. But is curling up next to your four-legged friend every night really good for your health and your sleep cycle?
Read on to separate the fact from the fiction, and to learn 5 reasons why snuggling up to your pup may help you to sleep better.
1. You'll Feel Safer
No matter your age or where you live, sometimes being alone in a dark room at night can still give you the creeps.
According to Daily Mail, a study showed that those who sleep with their dogs in their bed feel much safer at night than those who sleep alone (2).
Especially if you or your children are among those that suffer from night terrors, or simply feel uneasy when trying to fall asleep, having your dog next to you may help.
Knowing your pet is loyal to you, and will likely try to alert/defend you in case of an intruder, is a great comfort to many.
2. They'll Help Beat The Nighttime Blues
Whether you've been officially diagnosed with depression/anxiety, or have just
been feeling a little down lately, sleeping with a dog can help you to fight off the symptoms of depression.
A survey by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America found that, of the 70% of adults who say they deal with stress on a daily basis, 54% say their symptoms are much worse at night.
Many also report that their anxiety makes it difficult to fall asleep, and that this only compounds the effects of stress the next day.
Having your dog sleep next to you provides a level of comfort that can help you to overcome feelings of anxiety and sadness.
First, it's nice to know that there's something you can reach out and pet if you're really struggling. But more importantly, dogs help those with mental illness feel needed and appreciated. The reminder that your dog relies on you for food, walks, and even love and attention will help you remember that you matter.
Remembering this can help you to block out the nighttime feelings of worthlessness that often accompany depression/anxiety.
3. They May Stop Insomnia
According to Sleep Review, depression and anxiety aren't the only disorders that dogs can help with (.
They may also be effective in helping you to overcome insomnia, a sleep disorder that makes it almost impossible to both fall and stay asleep.
First, as mentioned above, dogs can help to lower your levels of stress and anxiety -- meaning that you're far less likely to spend the night tossing and turning over the next day's responsibilities.
However, the study also suggests that dogs can help you to escape a nighttime state of "hyperarousal and hypervigilance" -- two common causes of insomnia.
This means that you'll be far less likely to be woken up by slight noises, and that any paranoia you experience will be less frequent.
4. Dogs Will Help To Keep You Warm
Living with a partner that loves to crank the air conditioner to the max at night? Heating on the fritz? Do you just struggle to find a comfortable room temperature at night, making falling asleep a challenge?
Dogs can help with that. They have a natural tendency to get as close to their owners as they can. You've likely experienced this firsthand when you're trying to get work done!
This means that they'll snuggle right up to you, helping you to get warm and cozy without getting overheated.
Plus, on colder nights, they're a much safer alternative than electric blankets and heating pads, which have been known to catch on fire.
5. Your Dog Will Sleep Better, Too
Of course, you're not the only one who will get a better night's sleep by sharing your bed with your dog.
Keeping dogs in a crate or the kennel is a subject of much debate. The Dodo cites that keeping them in kennels may cause mental illness in canines (3). Also, some animal rights activists believe that crate training may also cause mental illness.
So, to stay on the safe side, why not let your dog sleep with you? This isn't just more comfortable for your pup, it also helps to build an even stronger relationship between you two.
Especially if your dog suffers from anxiety or even unchecked aggression, letting them sleep with you may benefit their mental health as much as it does your own.
When Your Pup Wakes You Up
Of course, the reality is that whether it's because they're hungry, need to go outside, or are simply having an intense dream about chasing squirrels, your dog can still wake you up in the middle of the night.
What should you do to prevent this from happening?
The best thing to do is invest in a set of earplugs to block out any scratching, barking, or howling. You might also want to learn how to wear a sleep mask.
That way, both you and your dog can wake up well-rested and ready to conquer the day, whether that day takes you to the office or to a friend's yacht party.
Liked this article? Read up on more sleep-related trivia here:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sleep* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
(1) “How Many Dogs Are There in the World?" Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/canine-corner/201209/how-many-dogs-are-there-in-the-world. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.
(2) “For a good night's sleep, let the dog snuggle up to you: Pets in your bedroom make people feel safer and secure leading to better rest ." Daily Mail, www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3360114/For-good-night-s-sleep-let-dog-snuggle-Pets-bedroom-make-people-feel-safer-secure-leading-better-rest.html. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.
(3) "Keeping Dogs In Kennels Can Literally Drive Them Crazy." www.thedodo.com/keeping-dogs-in-kennels-can-li-504969759.html. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.