You might have been told not to let your dog sleep in the same bed, did you know that it can have some pretty profound effects on your mental health?
In a study with female dog owners, fifty-five percent said they shared a bed with their pet pooch.
Compared to those who sleep with a partner or a cat, dog owners reported that they get more sleep due to going to bed earlier, as well as feeling more comfort and protection during the night.
Not surprisingly, cats were said to be as disruptive as human partners, but that is not surprising, right?
If you are wondering whether you should let little Fido share a bed with you at night, then you can feel rest assured to know that it is likely to benefit your mental health, rather than make it worse. Let us tell you why…
Can Boost Your Wellbeing
Your mental health matters, and letting your dog sleep in the bed can help you to get rid of anxiety and release stress.
Because as a dog owner you connect with them on an emotional level, it can affect your overall health and boost your mood.
According to a study, human and animal interaction may help reduce your heart rate, cortisol production and blood pressure.
This is especially useful if you are lying in bed at night worrying about things you cannot control, or if stress at work is a current factor.
So, cuddling up to your pooch at 3am in the morning is a no brainer!
May Help To Reduce Depression
Speaking of wellbeing, studies have shown that activities alongside animals can have a major impact on depression.
Those who had therapy alongside a dog or did activities with them had fewer symptoms associated with depression.
It is the same with sleeping alongside your dog in the bed – it can help to release oxytocin which can help you to relax and feel happy.
There really is no excuse for feeling sad at night when you have a wonderful dog beside you.
Makes You Feel Safer
If you feel safe and relaxed during the night, then there is no doubt that you will sleep much better than if you felt scared, unsafe and on edge.
A study showed how women felt much safer having their pooch with them at night in bed and the way it impacted on their overall sleep quality.
It actually helped, giving them a better night’s sleep to face the next day with.
Because dogs are instinctively going to protect you, or alert you if something is wrong (they can hear sounds you cannot), then it is no wonder that you are going to feel much safer having them with you during the night.
Dogs Are Comforting
It is not unusual for a dog to help with therapy after a traumatic event, so you will not be surprised to know that they can bring comfort to a good night’s sleep.
They have been known to help those suffering with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and provide a cuddly snuggle to make you feel comforted in the dark. This can be especially helpful if you are suffering with recurring nightmares.
So the next time you are struggling to drift off due to feeling anxious because of something that is bothering you, then have a cuddle with your dog. Hopefully soon you will be sleeping soundly!
Can Help Reduce Insomnia
If you struggle to sleep, and spend most nights staring up at the ceiling and watching the lights from cars whiz by, then having your dog with you in bed could help.
Studies have shown that having your dog with you at night can help your body to relax and prepare itself for sleep, helping to create the best environment for you to drift off in.
If you have tried everything to help you get to sleep, having your dog by your side is most certainly a good option to try.
Can Help With Loneliness
If you live by yourself, loneliness can be real, especially at night. Even if you enjoy your independence, there is bound to become a time when you feel lonely – this happens more often than not in the silence of the dark at night -urgh.
Having a fluffy dog share the bed with you can bring in that companion that you are lacking.
They will fulfill that space and bring security, warmth, and comfort to your sleep. It might even impact the quality of your sleep making it much better.
Strengthens The Bond With Your Pooch
Whilst it is obvious that sleeping alongside your pooch can provide a shared bond, there is a little more to it than that.
Alaskan native-Americans used to sleep alongside their dogs to share warmth. The colder it was, the more dogs were huddled together with people.
This was said to provide a shared bond between both humans and dogs and is still believed today, relating to the fact that letting your dog sleep alongside you helps them to feel part of a pack.
Also, a lot of people suggest that dogs who feel close to their owners (such as sharing a bed) are much more easily trained.
May Reduce Allergens Later on
There are many arguments about whether, or not, to let your dog sleep in the same bed, with those who are against it talking about allergens in the bed sheets.
Whilst this is true for many, there is a study that refutes it by saying that if a child is exposed to their pets early on in their life, they are less likely to develop these allergies as they grow up.
Even though this is not the case for everyone, if you do not show any symptoms like a runny nose or itchy eyes, then there is no problem when it comes to letting your dog sleep in the bed.
When Not To Share A Bed With Your Dog
Whilst there are many positives to having your dog sleep alongside you, there are a few reasons as to why you should not. So let us take a look at them quickly:
If the dog is new, is not house trained, you or your dog has health issues, you have severe allergies, or you are a lighter sleeper.
If any of these are a yes, then right now is not the time to introduce your dog to sleeping in the same bed at night.
Tips To Safely Sharing A Bed
If you do plan on having your pet pooch share a bed with you at night, then there are a few things to remember.
- Set boundaries, so your dog does not overstep the mark. This could be from only allowing your dog to sleep above the covers (which you should be), to which area of the bed they are allowed to sleep in.
- Remember to keep your dog clean as you do not want to introduce any allergies or dirt into your sleeping area. It should be a space of comfort, not where you sleep alongside a stinky dog!
- A mattress protector is a good idea, especially one that is waterproof. It could save you from having to buy a new mattress if accidents do happen.
- If your dog shows aggression, then do not allow them to sleep in the bed, especially if it is towards other people (such as if you share a bed with a person from time-to-time or fully).
- To stop Fido from having an accident in bed, take them for a walk before bedtime and straight away in the morning.
Whilst you may have heard that you should not let your dog sleep in the same bed, there are many reasons as to why it can actually benefit you.
From getting a better night’s sleep, to lowering stress and anxiety, having Fido sleep alongside you can only be a good thing.