5 ways your dog may be helping you to get a better night’s sleep

11 June 2019

Sleeping Dog

Regularly struggling to get a peaceful night’s sleep? Recent research has found that women who sleep alongside their dog get a better night’s rest, and can fall asleep and wake earlier, too. We spoke to Kathryn Eccles from pet supply specialist Millbry Hill to find out more about this.

Getting the balance right between giving your dog freedom around your home and keeping some spaces just for humans can be difficult, but for many of us the bedroom is a strictly out-of-bounds zone. Not only can some dogs be disruptive to your sleep pattern, but it’s not uncommon for them to sprawl across your duvet, leaving you in an uncomfortable position for the night.

But, with recent research finding that having your four-legged friend sleeping on your bed can improve sleep quality and bring about stronger feelings of comfort and security, it might be time to shake up the house rules (Anthrozoös). Here, I’ll be sharing the ways your dog may be helping you to get a better night’s rest.

1. They provide a sense of security

Dogs are incredibly curious animals, and this doesn’t stop at night-time. They have super sensitive hearing that can pick up on even the smallest of noises, so having your furry friend join you on your bed can give you greater peace of mind. While their tendency to be easily disturbed by noise might have been one of the assumed downfalls of sharing your bed with your dog, having them in a close proximity to alert you to any trespassers in the night is sure to make you feel more secure as you sleep.

Regardless of your dog’s size, they can offer us a sense of unparalleled protection, so if you’re feeling a little on edge at night, your dog could be the key to a more peaceful rest.

2. They increase the happiness hormone

Many people report feeling happy around their dogs, but it’s not just their funny personalities and cute faces that make us feel like this. In fact, research over the years has shown that being near a dog increases our levels of oxytocin, a hormone that is sometimes referred to as the love hormone and is associated with social bonding and affection (Science).

For those struggling with mental health issues, this could mean that having their dog nearby while they sleep can help them to feel happier and get a better rest which, in turn, can improve mood, as well as stress and concentration levels.

3. They provide soothing background noise

Sleeping in silence can sometimes be off-putting and actually worsen our sleep quality as we’re made aware of any little creak and squeak around the house. Having the rhythmic breathing of your dog alongside you can add some background noise and block out any minor sounds that may otherwise be keeping you awake or worsening your insomnia.

Plus, if you live alone or your partner is away, knowing that the pet you love is beside you can be just the comforting cue you need to soundly doze off.

4. They can act as a secondary alarm clock

Hitting the snooze button is all too easy on any regular morning but, when you’ve got a dog who’s eagerly awaiting, or maybe even signalling, for their breakfast or to go outside, it gets more difficult to ignore your alarm clock.

Dogs are incredibly smart and, just as they learnt that giving their paw gets them a treat, they can start to associate the sound of your alarm with feeding time. Once they’ve grasped the concept of this positive reinforcement, they’re likely to get up and start moving, giving you a secondary cue to get up if you managed to slam your hand onto the alarm the first time.

5. They add an extra level of warmth

Shivering through the night isn’t an ideal sleep setting for anybody, and having your dog alongside you can beat this problem. Just like humans, our pets love to cuddle up nice and close to us to feel secure and comfortable. Not only will this make you both feel at peace and mean you can sleep better, but your combined body heat will make for a cosy sleeping temperature.

If you tend to get too hot on a night, you could think about placing their bed in your room so that you don’t have to miss out on the other benefits of sharing your room with your pet.

Many dog owners are quick to draw the boundary line at the bedroom but, with so many advantages of having your furry friend sleeping in your room, you might want to re-think the house rules!

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