Sleeping With Your Dog May Help You Get a Better Night's Rest

A new study from the Mayo Clinic says that letting dogs in the bedroom may not disrupt sleep quality.


If you have a dog, like one of America’s 43 million dog-owning households, you probably ran into the dilemma of whether to let man’s best friend sleep in your room or even in your bed. You might be worried that your canine buddy won’t let you get any quality sleep. Thankfully, a new study from the Mayo Clinic puts this question to rest - it’s ok to let the dog sleep in the bedroom but keep it out of your bed. 

The study authored by Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, looked at the sleep of 40 healthy adults and their dogs over five months. For one week, the researchers had participants and their dogs wear activity trackers to track their sleeping patterns. 

“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” says Dr. Krahn. “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.”

No matter what dog it may be, the study found, some people’s sleep may actually be helped by having their dog sleeping in their bedroom. This doesn’t work, however, if you let the dog climb into your bed - adults who slept next to their canine companions were found to have worse sleep quality. A dog should have its own bed.

“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,” explains Dr. 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."

As the study was of a relatively small size, with none of the dogs being under 6 months old, you should consider carefully if you want to let your new and very excitable puppy into your bedroom. You’d be unlikely to get much good sleep that way. 

Still, the dog lovers might find the the study’s conclusion that “a dog's presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected” quite comforting.

You can read the study titled “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment” here.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.