Sleeping With Dogs In Your Bed
Your furry best friend wants to share everything with you – walk time, mealtime, and often, sleep time as well. Should you share a bed with your dog? There are many health benefits associated with falling asleep alongside your dog, including some that may surprise you.
Why Does My Dog Sleep On Me?
“My dog has to sleep touching me.” “Why does my dog sleep so close to me?” “Why does my dog sleep on top of me?”
These are all common questions, and observations dog owners have about their pets. The fact of the matter is, even if you buy them an expensive bed, many dogs still prefer to sleep with their humans. When they do, they often like to sleep near, or even on top of, their owners.
The answer to this common behavior can be traced back to dogs’ descent from wolves. Wolves and dogs share similar pack behaviors, one of which includes sleeping close together. Wolves will huddle together at night for warmth, shelter, and safety in their pack. Your dog will likely want to do the same.
While this pack mentality comes from the wild, humans also have used this behavior throughout history to keep warm while they sleep. The phrase “three dog night” refers to the kind of cold evening when you would need to sleep next to three dogs just to stay warm.
So, why do dogs lay on you? You’re the leader of their pack, and usually, a dog will sleep close to or on top of you because they love you. They also may want to protect you. Many dogs will sleep next to their owners or next to the children of the household as a way to guard them, just like the pack would.
Is There Any Downside to Sleeping With Dogs in the Bed?
All cuddling should be mutual. If your dog doesn’t want to snuggle up close to you, don’t try to move them. It may just be too hot, they may be tired out, or they may not always feel cuddly.
You should also always feel comfortable sharing space with your dog. If your dog doesn’t respect the house rules and is often trying to show you that they’re the boss, then lying on you could be a sign of dominance – which can cause trouble in your relationship. If that’s the case, you may want to seek out guidance from a dog trainer to make sure you’re the one who’s in charge.
Finally, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial when it comes to maintaining your health. Studies have shown that sleeping next to a dog is linked to an adequate sleep efficiency score of around 80%, meaning that having a dog sleeping in bed next to you shouldn’t disrupt your sleep any more than anything else does. However, the study didn’t account for owners of multiple dogs, which may disturb your sleep more than just one can. If you find that your dog or dogs continuously wake you up in the middle of the night, or if you wake up with consistent neck or back pain, then you may want to rethink your sleeping arrangement.
Benefits of a Dog Sleeping in Your Bed
That being said, there are many benefits to sharing a bed with your dog, with more being discovered all the time. Here are just some of the benefits of having your dog sleeping next to you in bed.
1) Reduced Stress
Bonding with your dog can increase both your serotonin and your oxytocin levels. These two chemicals play an essential role in regulating your sleep and making you feel calmer, happier, and less stressed overall. Sleeping next to your dog is a great way to strengthen the bond between the two of you. Having them close can help you feel more relaxed. Listening to your dog’s rhythmic breathing can also help you fall asleep more easily.
2) Increased Feelings of Security
A study by the Mayo Clinic reported that people who slept with their dogs in bed with them felt more secure. Out of the 150 people surveyed, only around 10-20% reported their sleep being disturbed by their pet.
3) Healthier Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Did you know that owning a pet can lower your blood pressure, as well as increase your chance of survival after a heart attack? Dog owners also tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-dog owners. Snuggling up with your dog may literally make you healthier.
4) Lower Risk of Allergies
Start snuggling early in life. Scientists have found that children with close exposure to furry pets, like sleeping next to them, are less likely to develop allergies later in life.
5) Better Sleep
Having your dog in bed next to you might actually help you get a better and deeper night’s sleep. According to a recent study, 66% of people who slept with their pet in bed with them reported being satisfied with their quality of sleep, in comparison with just 57% of respondents who didn’t sleep next to a pet. Additionally, people who suffer from nightmares, PTSD, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea have reported getting a better, deeper night’s sleep from sharing a bed with their service dog or pet.
Why does my dog lay on me? Probably because he or she loves you, feels safe with you, and wants to protect you. Why should you sleep next to your dog? Because they can help you feel comforted, relaxed, and less stressed. Sleeping next to a dog also offers many other health benefits, like lowering your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure levels, making your heart healthier. It can also reduce your risk of developing certain allergies and help you get a better and more restful night’s sleep. So before you build a separate dog bedroom in your home, consider all the benefits of sharing sleep time with your canine best friend can bring.