5 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep with Your Dog

Posted: 06/11/2022 | BY: Erin Cain | Categories:

Do you sleep with your dog? According to a recent survey, about 55% of female dog owners sleep with their pups in bed. Sleeping with your dog can have some benefits, but it’s not right for everyone. If you’re considering sleeping with your canine friend, here are 5 tips to help make it a better experience for both of you!

The good, the bad, and the puppy in bed

Once, people kept their dogs crated at night or trained them to go to sleep in their pet bed. However, the relationship between pet parents and furkids has deepened significantly, especially since the pandemic. During isolation, many people found comfort in their pets, and those pets became an intimate part of their lives. More pet parents let their dogs sleep through the night with them than ever before.

Having your pup sleep with you can provide you with significant health benefits. Unfortunately, some dog owners find it harder to get undisturbed sleep when their dog is next to them. Here are some positives and negatives associated with letting your dog sleep in your bed.

The benefits of sleeping with your dog

Improved mental and physical health

Pets are a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Scientific studies show that canines can reduce the amount of anxiety and stress one feels, making sleeping with your dog a sort of personal therapy session. People who snuggle with their dogs experience higher levels of dopamine and oxytocin, hormones that promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Dogs help you relax and lower your depressive symptoms. Their calming effect on our body’s hormones results in the lower production of cortisol (a stress hormone). The production of serotonin, which helps alleviate anxiety and prepares us to relax easily at night, also increases.

Also, spending time around dogs lower people’s blood pressure, which improves pet owners’ cardiovascular health.

Security and comfort

Having their dog close at night is better than having a favorite blanket for some pet owners! Dogs often promote a sense of security in their owners, allowing their humans to experience less fear when turning in for the night.

The presence of a dog in the home can provide subjective feelings associated with safety and protection. For example, American women who slept beside their dogs reported feeling safer than those without dogs. Pups wake up at the slightest sounds made inside and outside the house. Most dogs also won’t be shy about alerting their owners if they feel disturbed or suspicious of any noise.

Your dog will be there to watch over you while you get a good night’s sleep. This comfort factor means more restful sleep for a happy and refreshed tomorrow.

Improved immune system

A dog’s presence primarily influences the bacteria in our homes. Researchers believe that exposure to various microorganisms associated with pets is good for building human health and immunity. Still, those who don’t experience this kind of environment might be more susceptible to autoimmune disorders and allergies. Research shows that petting a dog increases your immune system, so sharing the bedroom with one may benefit your health.

Increased warmth

This benefit is more anecdotal than scientific, but many pup parents report that their dogs keep them warm at night. One theory suggests that because many pups can regulate their body temperature in cold climates, they can curl up with you on those nippy nights. A recent study shows that sleep quality is negatively affected by cold temperatures. So if you live in a cold climate or have a regularly cold bedroom, having your dog with you can provide warmth and a better night’s sleep.

Better quality sleep

Dogs not only help you relax, but they may also improve your sleep at night. Their calming effect on our body’s hormones results in increased production of serotonin, which helps alleviate anxiety and prepares us to sleep well at night. Sleeping next to your pup is a way to bond further and show her she is part of the family pack. Some dog owners claim that dogs are easier to train if they sleep near their owners.

The drawbacks to having a dog in bed

Problems for light sleepers

Dogs move around in their sleep, act out dreams, and even snore. If you’re a light sleeper or there’s limited room on your bedside, then consider letting your puppy crash on the floor, in a dog bed, or a crate. Otherwise, you are likely to have poor sleep experiences.

Germ exposure

A canine can be a source of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites — such as fleas and ticks — that put the family they live with at risk. Another concern is zoonotic diseases, which are infectious illnesses able to be passed from animals to humans.

Allergies

Millions of Americans have allergies to pets and live with a furry friend regardless. But for those who suffer severe allergic reactions, it’s best to let your dog sleep in another room at night to avoid exposure to dander while sleeping. Wheezing, sneezing, other respiratory issues, or anaphylactic concerns will interfere with sleep quality.

Antsy dogs

Dogs are polyphasic sleepers, which means they experience three sleep cycles as opposed to a human’s single cycle. Canines typically sleep in 45-minute increments, unlike people who sleep for up to nine hours. Therefore, dogs are more likely to get up at night to shift position or jump off and then back on the mattress. Studies show that a dog owner is 4.3 times more likely to wake up because of their dog’s movements. If your furkid disrupts your sleep, consider a designated sleeping space near or outside the bedroom for your dog.

Dogs stealing your covers

You aren’t likely to sleep through the night if your dog loves to steal the bed covers and blankets. Generally, dogs will move blankets around to create a snug place to bed down. This instinctual activity is part of how your dog’s nature. Again, if battling over covers is too disruptive, consider giving your dog a specific bed or crate of her own.

5 tips to improve your and your dog’s sleep

1. Wash bedding and sheets regularly.

Clean bedding is essential to preventing the spread of germs that can negatively impact your rest. Regularly wash your sheets, pillowcases, and any dog beds or blankets you bring into your bedroom to eliminate germs and reduce exposure to pet dander.

2. Take your dog outside before bedtime.

Taking your pup on a walk before bedtime allows her one last chance to go to the bathroom. Then, she won’t disrupt your sleep in the middle of the night to take her outside or, even worse, if she has an accident on the mattress. This tip might also help your dog burn off excess energy so they move less and sleep more deeply. The result is fewer disruptions for you while you sleep.

3. Establish a consistent routine.

To help your dog get into bed at a particular time, take her on walks before and after you come home from work. Do the same thing when you feed your dog before bed. If your pup has eaten a few hours beforehand, she will have time to digest the food comfortably, making her naturally sleepier.

The circadian rhythm of animals is similar to that of humans. Keeping your pet and yourself on a similar sleep rhythm is essential. Sleeping around the same time each night and waking up around the same time each morning may prevent restless nights for both of you.

4. Set boundaries and keep your dog above the covers.

If you want a better night’s sleep, teach your dog to sleep on top of the covers. This position limits your exposure to dirt, pet dander, and other allergens your dog brings into bed with her.

You can successfully teach your dog where to sleep on the bed by setting consistent boundaries. Create a designated space for your dog in bed. Whether your pup likes sleeping next to you or at the foot of the bed, make sure you are clear with the dog’s sleeping arrangements, including where you want her to lie down and what area is off-limits.

5. Keep your dog clean.

Keeping your dog groomed and bathed can reduce the allergens and dirt tracked into the bed. Regularly brush your dog’s teeth to reduce bad doggie breath that can wake you from a sound slumber!

Sleep well with a pet insurance plan for your dog.

You and your dog can rest well knowing that your pup is covered with a pet insurance plan from a top provider. Dog health insurance provides emergency coverage for any accidents your dog may experience throughout her lifetime. It also saves pet parents money. 

Pet Insurance Review will provide you with the top pet insurance plans that fit your budget and your dog’s needs. Get a free quote for your dog, and learn how you can protect her best.

References:

  1. Hoffman, C., Stutz, K., Vasilopoulos, T. (2018). An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2018.1529354
  2. Beetz, A., Unvas-Moberg, K., Julius, H., Kotrschal, K. (2012). Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/
  3. Souter, M., Miller, M. (2015). Do Animal-Assisted Activities Effectively Treat Depression? A Meta-Analysis. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/175303707X207954
  4. Levine, G., et al. (2013). Pet Ownership and Cardiovascular Risk. Retrieved from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0b013e31829201e1
  5. Krahn, L., Tovar, M., Miller, B. (2015). Are Pets in the Bedroom a Problem? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(15)00674-6/fulltext
  6. Buschman, H. (2015). Man’s Best Germs: Does Your Dog Influence Your Health? Retrieved from https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/pages/2015-05-07-mans-best-germs-your-health-and-your-dog.aspx
  7. Okamoto-Mizuno, K., Mizuno, K. (2012). Effects of thermal environment on sleep and circadian rhythm. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427038/#B40
  8. Deshong, A. (2022). How Much Do Dog’s Sleep? Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/sleep-questions/how-much-do-dogs-sleep/
  9. Smith, B., Browne, M. Mack, J., Kontou, T. (2018). An Exploratory Study of Human–Dog Co-sleeping Using Actigraphy: Do Dogs Disrupt Their Owner’s Sleep? Retrieved from https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/catalog/6885729
  10. Withrow, D. (2020). Why Do Dogs Move Blankets Around. Retrieved from https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-do-dogs-move-blankets-around

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