Can letting your furry friend share your bed leave you feeling dog-tired?
They’re a loyal and lovable addition to any home, so it’s no surprise that more than a quarter (26%) of UK adults have a dog. This equates to around 9.9 million pet dogs up and down the country.
And it isn’t just the UK. The ASPCA reports that around 44% of all US households own a dog too. That’s millions and millions of pet pooches across the world.
As any dog owner will understand, having a dog means having them as part of your family. Because of that, it turns out that many dog owners go as far as to share their bed with their furry friend every night.
If this applies to you, you may not have considered the impact allowing your dog onto your bed can have on the quality and quantity of your sleep. We’re going to take a look at the pros and cons.
Should you let your dog sleep on your bed?
There are both positive and negative aspects involved when it comes to allowing your dog onto your bed. One study evaluated the sleep habits of people who co-slept with their dogs, and the results shows that participants reported an increased level of comfort and security in having their pets near them all night. In fact, some participants even slept better when they had their dogs in their bedroom.
However, it wasn’t all positive. Things became less encouraging when participants invited their pets onto the bed. Results showed that sleep efficiency dropped when the dog was in the bed, rather than just in the bedroom.
Dogs are highly likely to be active in sleep. They move around a lot, they snore and some even act out their dreams. The American Kennel Club reports that dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means they average around three sleep/wake cycles every hour at night. This causes them to wake up frequently, possibly making noise and shifting around in the process, before falling back to sleep.
This means that sharing the bed with a four-legged friend is also likely to mean more sleep disruptions for you. This leads to less sleep and poorer sleep quality.
Improving your sleep environment can make all the difference
It’s clear that sharing your bed with your pet isn’t the best idea, but any dog owner will know it often isn’t as simple as banishing your pooch and shutting the door. Making simple changes to your bedroom can improve the situation.
Firstly you should invest in a mattress which is both comfortable and spacious enough to house both you and your dog easily. That way, at least you can both have your own space when sharing a bed. You should also banish any dog toys and treats from your bed, as this will help to establish your bedroom as a space reserved for sleeping. Just as you might avoid bringing electronics and other distractions into your room, you can do the same for your dog.
Dogs shed a lot of hair. What’s more, they also pick up dust, pollen and other allergens in their fur throughout the day, and these irritants can end up in your bed. If you’re determined to share your bed with your dog, make sure you change your bedding as frequently as once or twice a week.
Investing in a doggy bed of their very own will make you feel less guilty about banishing your canine from your own bed. One recent sleep study found that dogs slept just as well whether they were on their owner’s bed or elsewhere in the bedroom. As far as your dog Is concerned, being close to you is good enough, and they don’t mind sleeping on the floor. Sleeping near, but not next to, your dog might be the best way to get the best of both worlds.