Can cuddling up to man’s best friend help you sleep better?

Letting a canine companion into the bedroom at night can divide couples and families. While some argue that all that doggy snoring will ruin their sleep, others love nothing more than a nighttime cuddle with their furry friend. However, science may now have resolved the matter, with a new U.S. study suggesting that sleeping with your pet can actually help you get a good night’s sleep.

More than 40 million American households have dogs, with 63 per cent of them considering man’s best friend to also be one of the family. However, no matter how much we love our dogs, that doesn’t allow automatic access into the bedroom.

With this in mind, researchers at the Mayo Clinic decided to look into the effect of dogs on sleep quality, recruiting 40 healthy adults without a sleep disorder to take part with their pets.

Both the participants and their dogs were asked to wear activity trackers to track their sleeping habits for seven nights when they slept in the same bedroom.

The team found that regardless of the size of the dog, sleeping with a furry friend in the room helped some people sleep better.

However, having a dog on the bed didn’t have the same effect, finding that those who let their canines get too cozy did it at the expense of a good night’s sleep.

“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption. We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets,” commented the study’s author Lois Krahn, M.D.

“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” added Dr. Krahn. “Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
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