My two dogs sleep in my bedroom- Wanda likes her soft-sided “hut” and Maisie stretches out on the chaise longue which is designed as “hers,” but neither of them sleeps on my bed (partly because, as a widow of two years, I have a crazy idea I might one day have a man in my life again and certainly don’t want him to have to wrestle my dogs for a space next to me!)
My sister, on the other hand, has her two little Brussels Griffons sleep on and in her bed (each of them is approximately the size of the head of my big Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda!) One of the little ones sleeps on my sister’s shoulder (sort of like a prone pirate’s parrot) while the other often burrows down under the covers by my brother-in-law’s feet.
I have friends who have many variations on our bedroom sleeping habits with their dogs – and I’ve always wondered whether that canine scratching in the night, licking paws, changing position, can interfere with sleep. We’re all conscious of how important those hours of beauty rest and REM sleep are to our wellness – so does having a dog in the bed improve or undermine good sleep?
A Mayo Clinic Study Shows Where Dogs Should Sleep
Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, is the author of a recent study which asked the question: “Does having a dog in the bedroom, or in the bed, disturb sleep?” The researchers studied 40 dog owners who did not have a sleep disorder.
Drum roll for the answer: The results indicated that “sleeping with dogs helps some people sleep better ? no matter if they’re snoozing with a small schnauzer or dozing with a Great Dane,” the Mayo Clinic News Network reported.
However, there was a caveat: do not let your canines crawl under the covers with you. According to the study, the sleep benefit extended only to having dogs in the bedroom, not in the bed itself. Owners who cozied up to their pups in their bed sacrificed quality sleep.
Human Life Quality Validate the Canine-Human Bond in Bed!
“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” the Mayo Clinic study concluded. “Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”
And for myself (since being a sister means there is always a bit of a competition) – I relish knowing that my dogs and I are doing our shared sleep the “right way!”
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.