Sick of tossing and turning all night? Here, Phil Lawlor, the Sleep Expert at mattress specialist Dormeo reveals why having your pooch sleep next to you could be the answer to your restless nights.
We all know dogs are man's best friends, joining us on all of our adventures and making each day a little bit brighter simply by being there through thick and thin. But, one popular area of debate surrounds the question of whether you should let them sleep in your bedroom at night. And, while it's not uncommon for owners to want to keep their sanctuary off-limits to mucky paws, there is plenty of evidence to suggest there are health benefits of letting your pooch snuggle up with you.
And, with research suggesting that this years' pandemic has brought a sharp increase in anxiety-sleeping problems as a result of job, finance and health worries, it's now more important than ever to shake up your nightly routine to focus on getting a better sleep (National Sleep Survey 2020). And, your four-legged friend might just be the solution. Here, I will be outlining some of the main advantages to have your pet sleep in your bedroom at night.
Improves your mental health
As a dog owner, you're probably familiar with the instant rush of happiness you feel when you see your furry friend. But, did you know that the "cuddle hormone" is a real thing? According to an article published in the Animals (Basel) Journal, when dogs and their owners interact with each other in a positive way, they both benefit from the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone linked with happiness and positive emotions. This means you're likely to feel less stressed and sleep more peacefully.
And, with research from The Sleep Foundation revealing that trying to sleep with anxiety or other mood disorders can minimise the amount of rest you get, having your pooch in the bedroom may be helpful if you're suffering from poor mental health.
If you're concerned about fur and mucky pawprints all over your fresh sheets, you could always think about setting up a designated space for your pet to rest. Just place their bed in a cosy spot, add some blankets and some fun toys, like these ones from Miro and Makauri, you'll still be able to benefit from the positive effects.
Increases your sense of security
If you regularly sleep on your own, it's natural to feel a little vulnerable sometimes. But, when you have the companionship from your dog, these feelings are likely to be minimised. Plus, as dogs have such sensitive ears, they'll be able to quickly hear and alert you to any disturbances in or around the house during the night.
In fact, a study published in the Anthrozoös journal revealed that dogs provide a much greater sense of security through the night than felt when sleeping alone. Additionally, the study found that pets are less disruptive sleeping partners than humans, so you won't have to worry about anyone hogging the duvet!
Make a more pleasant sleeping environment
While some people are led to believe dogs would be disruptive to sleep, owners have found quite the opposite. For one thing, it's been suggested that being able to hear your dog's breathing aids sleep, as it makes people feel safer and aware that there's somebody else with them when they drift off.
Similarly, the warmth of your pet beside you will create a cosier sleeping environment, meaning you should find it easier to snuggle down and get a good night's rest. So, as we approach winter, why not bring your furry friend upstairs for a bedtime cuddle. You'll both feel much calmer and relaxed.
Contributes to better physical health
Your pooch doesn't just help to boost your mental health, but having them sleep beside you can also have massive physical benefits, too. For example, several studies, including one from Harvard Medical School, state that having a dog can contribute to better heart health, with dog owners typically having lower blood pressure than those who don't own one. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the fact that dogs help to calm emotions and also that owners get more exercise from walking their pet.
By having your dog sleep in your bedroom, you're likely to feel calmer while you sleep, and this will, in turn, keep your heart healthy in the long run.
Helps you stick to routine
With more of us working from home and unable to follow our usual routine during the pandemic, it can be quite tempting to sit around and do nothing. However, it's impossible to do this when you have a pet, especially on mornings where they'll need to be fed and let out to the toilet.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and find it easy to make associations. So, when they hear your alarm go off and they're used to you getting up and about, it's likely they'll head down for their own breakfast or get up to go outside. Once they're up and about, it'll be more difficult for you to lie in, so you'll have no choice but to stick to your dog's usual routine.
Improve your sleep by bringing your pooch up to bed with you. As well as feeling safer and better protected, you'll also benefit from some fantastic mental and physical health benefits!