Do you snooze next to your dog? New research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that sleeping with your dog in bed may lower your quality of sleep.
In the small study, researchers evaluated the sleep of 40 healthy adults and their dogs over five months to assess whether or not having a dog in the bedroom disturbs sleep.
Participants were adults (88 percent women) with no sleeping disorders and dogs all over six months of age. Each set of participants wore activity trackers to monitor their sleep habits for seven nights each.
Researchers found that people who let their dogs sleep in their bedroom had good sleep efficiency unless their dog slept on the bed with them. Dogs who slept in the bed resulted in lower sleep quality for their human companions.
“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” says Dr. Lois Krahn, an author of the study and a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine in a statement. “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.”
There are an estimated 7.8 million dogs in the US and approximately 44 percent of households have a pet dog, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
“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,” says Dr. Krahn in the statement.
“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.”
[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]
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