Having Your Dog Sleep In Bed With You May Improve Your Mental Health

Inviting your dog to sleep with you in bed could be good for your mental health, according to an animal expert.

Having owned dogs for years, I always let them sleep in bed with me. It just felt right and I liked having them close by. However, I received many comments from others about how “bad” it is – but there was never much reasoning behind not letting them sleep in bed.

As it turns out, there’s now a reason for it! Karen Barrett, a dog behaviourist, told the Daily Telegraph that there are actually mental health benefits of letting your furry friend sleep in bed with you – as long as you establish dominance.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

She explained, “If the dog is sleeping on your head, they think they are higher up than you and this is a problem. But, by lying next to you, there is an oxytocin release that encourages us to cuddle up together. It’s also a basic genetic survival instinct.”

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It can especially be beneficial for those who are single or elderly and whose partners have passed. Having a dog to sleep next to can provide a level of comfort that can’t be found by sleeping alone.

According to her, the benefits of having a dog share your bed far outweigh the negatives.

Photo: PXFUEL

Researchers at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, agree that dogs make great sleep companions. They even discovered that women generally sleep better next to a dog than a man.

According to a study, a survey of 962 women showed that 55% slept with a dog in bed, and those who did were more likely to get a better night’s sleep, compared with women sleeping next to another human or a cat.

Photo: flickr/Sunday Williams

Participants who slept with dogs felt a stronger sense of security and comfort. They also disrupted their bed companions’ sleep much less than cats, who were found to be the poorest choice of bed companions in the study.

If you sleep with your dog in bed, consider it a win for your mental health. And if you’ve been hesitant to invite them into the bedroom, this may just be the reason you’ve been waiting for.

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