Over the last decades, there have been many studies supporting the benefits of couples sleeping in the same bed. In fact, many sleep experts have found that despite all the annoyances, sleeping next to another person is significantly better than falling asleep alone. (1)
For the same reason why people love cuddling, the physical presence of a person next to you helps create a sense of safety and security. It also reduces levels of stress, soothes symptoms of anxiety and so on…
But what about sharing your bed with your dog?
Sleeping With Dogs In The Same Bed
One particular study published in the Anthrozoös journal, showed that women slept more peacefully next to their dog.
Led by associate professor Christy L. Hoffman, the study surveyed 962 adult pet-owning women in the United States. 55% of the women participating in the study let at least one of their dogs sleep in their bed, while 31% of the women shared their bed with a cat. 57% of the women also shared their bed with a human partner. (2)
The study dove into which of the three created the best sleep environment. To do this, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their quality of sleep and how safe they felt as a result of their dog or cat’s presence. Those with partners were asked how the other person affected their sleep and their feelings of security at night.
After analyzing the data, Hoffman and her team found that cats and human partners were “disruptive” to a woman’s sleep, whereas dogs were perceived as peaceful bed companions.
According to the study, “Compared with human bed partners, dogs who slept in the owner’s bed were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with stronger feelings of comfort and security. Conversely, cats who slept in their owner’s bed were reported to be equally as disruptive as human partners, and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners.”
While the study showed that dogs are better sleeping partners, Hoffman also added that dog owners tend to have better sleep habits and stricter daily routines than people who don’t have dog.
“Dog owners have to adjust to their dogs’ needs to toilet each morning, and this helps keep dog owners on a relatively strict wake-up routine,” she said. “And dogs’ major sleep periods tend to coincide more closely with humans’ than do cats.”
In addition, “Some dog owners may take comfort in the thought that their dog will alert them in the case of an intruder or other type of emergency,” Hoffman said. “A cat is less likely to take on this role.” (3)
Further research is needed to determine whether people’s perception of their pets influenced their answers in the survey. But for now, if sharing your bed with your pet, be it dog or cat helps you sleep better, than just keep doing it!