As pet lovers, we all love snuggling up to our furry friends in bed every now and then. What we don't love, however, is the judgement that we get from non-pet owners. 'It's unhygienic!' 'too much fur!' 'what about allergies?' 'they'll disturb your sleep!'—these are just *some* of the annoying things we get to hear from people who don't understand that our pets are not just animals, they're our family.
The next time someone throws these questions at you, why not give them a science lesson instead of getting defensive? Yes, that's right—science has finally confirmed what we knew all along in our heart—sleeping with our pets is actually good for us.
Wondering how? Brace yourself for some *goodboi* facts.
According to a study conducted by Mayo Clinic, having your four-legged friend in bed while you sleep DOES NOT worsen your sleep. In fact, it may actually help you sleep better! Published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the study observed 40 adults who slept with a dog either in their bed or somewhere in their bedroom. Researchers made the participants wear motion-tracking devices for seven nights, and pet-owners then answered questions about their quality of sleep and where their dogs slept.
The findings of the research revealed that the presence of your dog in the bedroom did not necessarily compromise on the quality of sleep, contrary to popular belief. On average, those who slept with dogs in their rooms but not on their beds maintained 83% sleep efficiency—a comparison of time spent asleep to total time in bed. Generally, 80% is considered satisfactory.
However, the results were slightly less than satisfactory when it came to people who slept with their dogs in bed, with sleep efficiency averaging at 80%. Although that percentile is considered average, these people were found to wake up more often during the course of a night.
In comparison, human bedfellows did not cause as much of a disturbance as pets did. “Presumably, humans accommodate the needs of their bed partner in an effort to promote sleep in a manner that even the most well-trained dog does not,” the authors of the study wrote.
The lead author, Dr Lois Krahn, of the study, a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus, says that for some owners, sleeping with an animal companion in the room can be comforting.
“To have a purring cat or a well-behaved dog nearby may be very relaxing and conducive to sleep. Provided everyone sleeps well, it can be a benefit,” she said in an interview. However, she did add that the study was only conducted with people who slept with a single animal. Multiple dogs on the same bed might not be as great for your sleep!
Well, there you have it—the next time someone questions you about your pet lounging in bed, tell them how you're sleeping *so* much better because of them! Hey—we didn't say it, science did! *wink*
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