Dogs do a lot to lift our spirits: they encourage us to play, exercise, and unlike some family members, they're always happy to see us when we get home.
It's natural to want to include your dog in as many activities as possible -- including letting them sleep in bed with you. But is curling up next to your four-legged friend every night really good for your health -- and your sleep cycle?
Read on to separate the fact from the fiction, and to learn 5 reasons why snuggling up to your pup may help you to sleep better.
1. You'll Feel Safer
No matter your age or where you live, sometimes being alone in a dark room at night can still give you the creeps.
Many also report that their anxiety makes it difficult to fall asleep, and that this only compounds the effects of stress the next day.
Having your dog sleep next to you provides a level of comfort that can help you to overcome feelings of anxiety and sadness.
First, it's nice to know that there's something you can reach out and pet if you're really struggling. But more importantly, dogs help those with mental illness feel needed and appreciated. The reminder that your dog relies on you for food, walks, and even love and attention will help you remember that you matter.
Remembering this can help you to block out the nighttime feelings of worthlessness that often accompany depression/anxiety.
They may also be effective in helping you to overcome insomnia, a sleep disorder that makes it almost impossible to both fall and stay asleep.
First, as mentioned above, dogs can help to lower your levels of stress and anxiety -- meaning that you're far less likely to spend the night tossing and turning over the next day's responsibilities.
However, the study also suggests that dogs can help you to escape a nighttime state of "hyperarousal and hypervigilance" -- two common causes of insomnia.
This means that you'll be far less likely to be woken up by slight noises, and that any paranoia you experience will be less frequent.
4. Dogs Will Help To Keep You Warm
Living with a partner that loves to crank the air conditioner to the max at night? Heating on the fritz? Do you just struggle to find a comfortable room temperature at night, making falling asleep a challenge?
Your dog can help with that.
Dogs have a natural tendency to get as close to their owners as they can -- you've likely experienced this firsthand when you're trying to get work done!
This means that they'll snuggle right up to you, helping you to get warm and cozy without getting overheated.
Plus, on colder nights, they're a much safer alternative than electric blankets and heating pads, which havebeen known to catch on fire.
5. Your Dog Will Sleep Better, Too
Of course, you're not the only one who will get a better night's sleep by sharing your bed with your dog.
Recently, much has been written about whether or not it's truly in your pet's best interest to keep them in a crate or kennel at night. Some animal rights activists believe that crate training may cause mental illness in dogs.
So, to stay on the safe side, why not let your dog sleep with you? This isn't just more comfortable for your pup, it also helps to build an even stronger relationship between you two.
Especially if your dog suffers from anxiety or even unchecked aggression, letting them sleep with you may benefit their mental health as much as it does your own.
When Your Pup Wakes You Up
Of course, the reality is that whether it's because they're hungry, need to go outside, or are simply having an intense dream about chasing squirrels, your dog can still wake you up in the middle of the night.
What should you do to prevent this from happening?
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website or provided through our blog, e-mails, or programs is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment that can be provided by your healthcare professionals.