Animal Expert: Sleeping Next to Your Dog Can Improve Your Mental Health

·2-min read
Photo credit: Lourdes  Balduque - Getty Images
Photo credit: Lourdes Balduque - Getty Images

If new research is to be believed, sleeping next to your pooch may not be such a bad idea after all, as long as you establish boundaries. Don't believe us? Down boy.

According to dog behaviourist, Karen Barrett, sleeping with a dog can be good for your mental health, as long as you establish it's your bed and not theirs.

"If the dog is sleeping on your head, they think they are higher up than you and this is a problem. But, by lying next to you, there is an oxytocin release that encourages us to cuddle up together. It's also a basic genetic survival instinct," said Barrett to the Daily Telegraph.

"When you've got single or elderly people, whose partners have passed, having a dog that sleeps on the bed is comforting."

But Barrett's testimony only proves what we already knew: when it comes to sleeping, dogs really are a man's best friend.

Last year, researchers at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, surveyed 962 US-based women about their sleeping habits and found that of the 57 per cent who slept with another human, 31 per cent who shared their bed with a cat and 55 per cent who had a dog tucked up alongside them, it was the women who slept alongside their dogs that were most likely to get a good night's sleep.

Additionally, the study also found that women who slept next to their pooch were more likely to go to bed earlier and woke from their slumber earlier too.

"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," the study's authors said.

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