Does your dog interrupt your sleep or help you sleep better? A recent study set out to answer this question and the results turned out to contradict earlier studies.
Although a 2014 Mayo Clinic study found that more than half the patients visiting its sleep clinic were pet owners whose sleep was disturbed by their cats or dogs, a new study has revealed exactly the opposite. That is, that letting your your cat or dog sleep on the bed can actually lead to improved sleep.
Researchers from Mayo Clinic recently surveyed 150 of the patients who visited their Arizona Center for Sleep Medicine. Participants were asked questions about their sleeping habits, their pets’ behavior and where the pets slept and how their pets affected their nightly sleep.
Of the 150 participants in the study, 56 percent of them admitted that they shared their bed with their cat or dog. While 20 percent reported that their pet disrupted their sleep, 41 percent said that having their pets on the bed helps them sleep better.
They said their pets helped them relax and provided a sense of security and companionship. This was especially the case with single sleepers.
“Respondents described feeling secure, content and relaxed when their pet slept nearby,” the study authors wrote. “The value of these experiences, although poorly understood, cannot be dismissed because sleep is dependent on a state of physical and mental relaxation.”
It’s not a conclusive study to be sure, but it does indicate that our dogs are more than “bed hogs” or heat warmers when we’re sleeping!