Does Sleeping With Your Dog Help or Harm Your Sleep Quality?

Sep 11, 2017 at 10:28 a.m. ET
Image: Ullstein Bild/Contributor/Getty Images

Anyone with a dog is faced with a decision regarding sleeping arrangements — namely, whether the dog should sleep with you in your bed. For some people with dogs, it’s a no-brainer — they can’t imagine sleeping a night without their dog. Others argue that it’s better for you — and the dog — to sleep apart. Now, a new study from the Mayo Clinic is shining some light on whether having a dog in the bedroom — or specifically in your bed — helps or disturbs sleep.

The study evaluated the sleep quality of both humans and dogs sharing the same bedroom and found that people with a single dog sleeping in their bedroom slept well. But there’s a catch. Those who permitted their dogs to sleep in bed with them reported poorer sleep quality.

More: 9 Gross Reasons You Shouldn't Bring Your Pet to Bed With You

According to the American Veterinary Association, more 40 million Americans — or nearly 37 percent of households — have a family dog and 63 percent consider their dogs to be members of their family.

“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,” Dr. Lois Kahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and an author of the study said in a statement.

More: The Truth About Sleeping With Your Dog

Today, so many people who have pets are away from them for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home, she explained.

“Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that,” Kahn added. “And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

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