They’re our best friends and, on most occasions, we don’t want them out of our sight. For some of us, this includes when we're sleeping.
“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption," says Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and author of the study, in a statement.
So is this the case? Is it good for dogs to sleep in the same bed as their owners, or will it stop them from having more time to enjoy their sleep?
Derek Damin from Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in Louiseville, Kentucky, said that people who have asthma or pet allergies shouldn’t sleep in the same space as their cat or dog. But then again, it’s not the wisest choice to own a pet if you’re allergic to them.
But what about those who aren’t allergic who let their dogs sleep in the same bed as them?
The research, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, studied 40 pet owners (88 percent women) and their dogs for seven nights over the course of five months. The team used an actigraphy on the pet owner’s wrist, as well as one clipped on the collars of the dogs to monitor their sleeping pattern.
The study showed that the participants spent an average of 7.9 hours between the sheets in bed and slept for 6.7 hours of that time.
“A single adult dog in the bedroom may not markedly disrupt sleep for middle-aged, healthy women,” wrote the researchers. But on the flip side, a pet owner who doesn’t mind sharing his or her bed with their dog might lack a bit of sleep.
Sleep efficiency was worse if the dog was lying on the bed rather than somewhere else in the room: 80 vs. 83 percent. Still, close to a half of dog owners let their dogs sleep in the same bed as them, according to a study from the American Pet Products Association.
“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 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.”