The internet is full of endless advice onhow to get a better night’s rest: don’t scroll on your phone in bed, exercise regularly but not too close to bedtime, only use your bed for sleep. But perhaps the advice we really need is to kick our partner out of bed and let our dog sleep there instead.
That’s right, according to a 2018 study published in A multidisciplinary journal of the interactions between people and other animals, women actually sleep better next to dogs than they do with other people.
Why do women sleep better next to dogs?
Lead researcher Dr Christy L. Hoffman and her team surveyed 962 adult women; 55% of participants admitted to sharing their bed with at least one dog, while 31% often top and tailed with their cats. A further 57% of those surveyed also shared their beds with another person.
The study’s results showed that ‘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.’
Comparatively, cats were considered just as disruptive in bed as human partners.
Dr Hoffman explained to Healthline that dogs could make better sleep companions because they’re more accommodating to the human sleep schedule.
It's not uncommon for human bed partners to go to bed at very different times and wake up at very different times. Such differences in partners' schedules can certainly disrupt sleep. It may be that dog bed partners adapt more readily to their owner's schedule than do human bed partners.
Letting your dog in your bed won’t fix your sleep problems
While this study seems like the perfect excuse to start sharing your bed with man’s best friend, the survey was self-reported, and participants’ sleep quality wasn’t objectively measured by any official sleep quality index.
Conversely, another study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in 2017 showed that people sleep better with a dog in the room, but their sleep efficiency dropped when the dog was in the bed.
Dr Hoffman shared with Broadly: ‘This [study is based on] individuals self-reporting how they feel their sleep is affected and it's important to note that this is based on aggregated data and an average of responses, so getting a dog won't solve everyone's sleep problems.’
Not to mention you won’t have to let your partner out to the bathroom at night!