Dogs

Scientific Benefits of Sleeping With Your Dog

One fact is certain: dogs LOVE to sleep. But when you move onto the next question—where is the best place for them to sleep—things start to get a little murkier. Some owners swear by crating their dogs at night. Other dogs curl up on the couch or have their own pet bed for their snoozes. We encourage you to consider letting your dog hop up into your bed with you! Not only will your dog appreciate being near you, but you stand to benefit as well in big ways.

Read on to learn 6 scientific benefits you can get from sleeping with your dog!

Hormonal Boost

According to John Woods, founder of All Things Dogs, that the hormone oxytocin is released during interactions between humans and dogs, including petting, talking, and stroking. One could add sleeping together to this list!

Oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone,” is the reason why activities like hugging provide such a powerful stress relief. Scientists have also observed the release of oxytocin in dogs during these touch-based interactions, which means both you and your pooch will feel the relaxing benefits of bedtime snuggles.

Sense of Protection

Why do so many dogs like to sleep at the foot of the bed? The reason, science says, is because of their protective instinct.

Especially if you live by yourself, having your pet in bed with you can give you a sense of ease knowing that you’re not alone at night. If someone were to break into your home, your dog is better able to protect you when they are just inches away, rather than locked up in a kennel.

Eases Depression

Studies have shown time and time again that spending time with a dog can ease feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition to helping with mental health during waking hours by providing companionship, structure, exercise, and another living thing to care for, dogs can also help you feel more positive at night.

One of the major symptoms of depression is loneliness, and sleeping with your dog reassures you that you are not alone, and reminds you of your furry friend who depends on you to take care of them.

Snuggly Warmth

Nothing can make a long day a little easier like a cuddle with your pooch. Especially in the winter when you’re trying to save on heating costs, there’s no reason to touch the thermostat when you have a pup!

Dogs’ body temperature is approximately 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a few degrees warmer than that of a healthy human. So forget the hot water bottle and grab your Havanese on the next chilly winter night!

Fights Insomnia

Some doctors discourage sleeping with a dog because there is a chance they will wake you up in the night more often than you would wake on your own. While this is a real possibility, many dog owners report that sleeping with their pup actually helps them fall asleep, and report no major sleep disturbances from their canine bunkmate.

Hearing the steady, deep breaths of your dog near you can encourage you to breathe more mindfully yourself, which experts say can help you fall asleep, ease anxiety, and reduce insomnia.

Strengthens The Bond

Dogs are hardwired to sleep with others at night—they are descended from wolves, who are pack animals, meaning they live, hunt, eat, and sleep together. Your dog likely thinks of you as their alpha, or their pack leader, and will want to be close to you at night.

Co-sleeping with your dog can help them build trust, loyalty, and confidence around you.

Summary

As you can see, it is well worth putting up with a little fur on your comforter! Sleeping with your dog can provide a powerful hormone boost, a comforting sense of protection, and even keep you warm without the extra blankets.

Your pup can also help you fight depression and insomnia, and letting them into bed will help strengthen the bond between you. Do you let your dog into bed to sleep with you? Which of these benefits do you appreciate the most? Let us know in the comments below!

John Woods

John Woods

John is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. He specializes in rehabilitation and force-free training methods.

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