If you’re a dog lover—or just happen to live with a pooch or two—you’re undoubtedly used to cuddling up at night with your pup, whether you want to or not. Even if you try to convince your dog to sleep in the adorable, if over-priced, dog bed you purchased, he’ll probably end up in bed with you with his head on your pillow. It’s just one of those things that most dog lovers put up with each and every night. Roughly 60 percent of all dog owners allow their dogs to sleep on their bed with them. Sadly, according to some research, man’s best friend may be man’s worst enemy when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic, the nonprofit medical group based in Minnesota, wanted to know if humans slept better with their beloved pets snuggled up next to them or if they were better at catching some zzzzs when their pups were on the floor. As anyone who has ever slept with a dog slowly kicking you out of your own bed already knows, humans and dogs aren’t exactly natural bedfellows. The good news is that if you do sleep with your dog, it’s not as bad as you may think.
For their study, researchers took 40 adult dog owners, none of whom had sleep disorders, and monitored their sleep quality over the course of seven nights with and without their dogs. People who were able to convince their dogs to sleep in their own beds exist scored 83 percent sleep efficiency, which is measured by comparing the amount of time you spend actually sleeping to the amount of time you are in bed overall. Puppy cuddlers, though, scored a sleep efficiency rating of 80 percent. As the report noted, “Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog’s position on/off the bed made a difference” (for instance, when your dog does his best bed hog impersonation).
While the researchers were able to conclude that the three-percent difference in sleep isn’t particularly remarkable, and that “a dog’s presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected” there was one caveat. The report highlighted that people who slept with their dogs woke up more frequently, which can lead to feelings of exhaustion. Now if only your dog could read scientific studies.