Study: Sharing a bed with your dog could be ruining your sleep

Cat owners, you’re in the clear

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About 65% of Americans let their pets sleep with them in bed. According to a recent study, however, America’s canine companions may be doing serious damage to our sleep quality.

Published in Scientific Reports, Trinity College Department of Psychology’s Aisha Carothers, Tvisha Singh and Brian N Chin submitted their findings last month — revealing that those sleeping in bed with their dogs often suffer insomnia symptoms. The same was not true for cat owners.

“These findings persisted even after accounting for demographic differences between these groups,” Chin reported to The Conversation. “When considering pet type, we found evidence for a negative effect on sleep when co-sleeping with dogs but no evidence for a negative effect on sleep when co-sleeping with cats.”

To get to the bottom of it all, Chin’s team recruited a sample of over 1,500 American adults and assessed their sleeping habits via questionnaires. Roughly half of respondents said they sleep with their pets in the same room for at least part of the night. Surprising the team, 93% of the participants who said they slept with their pets in the room believed that their pets provided either a positive or neutral effect on their sleep.

“However, our study fills an important knowledge gap by indicating that co-sleeping with pets can affect sleep quality,” Chin said. “Good sleep is a pillar of health and wellness. Even though pets may have an overall positive effect on mental health, it is possible that some of this benefit may be undermined if they are also causing you to lose sleep at night.”

Chin pointed out that his team’s study had limitations. As a survey-based study, it was unable to prove that sleeping with a pet in the room directly disrupts sleep — only that there is a correlation. The study also did not assess if the participants were sleeping with other people in the room as well.

Chin said that sharing a bed with another person can also affect your sleep.