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New Study Finds Reasons Why Sleeping With Your Dog Is Bad For You

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Sorry, pet lovers, but new research suggests that snuggling up with your pooch may not be disruptive to your sleep patterns.


Of course, dog owners generally love to sleep with their dogs, and despite those fancy dog beds owners buy, canine companions inevitably end up in their owners' beds. According to a study performed at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, though, people sleeping with their dogs sleep less efficiently than those who manage to convince Fido to sleep in his own bed. As many as 60 percent of dog owners regularly sleep with their dogs.

Researchers monitored the sleep patters of 40 dog owners over the course of a week. On the nights that subjects slept without their pets, they scored 83 percent sleep efficiency. Those who slept with their dogs experienced a moderate, but not extreme, 3 percent drop in their sleep performance. Although this may seem like a small discrepancy, persistently inefficient sleep can have psychological and physical effects as sleep debt accrues over time.

"Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog's position on/off the bed made a difference...a dog's presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected."

There are a couple of reasons for sleep disruption when sleeping with your dog. First, dogs move a lot in their sleep, which can wake up their owner. Second, dogs release large amounts of heat when they sleep, which can make their owners uncomfortable, thus leading to less efficient sleep.

There isn't much reason to fret, though. Sleeping with pets can be psychologically comforting, and that's a good thing. It is important however to monitor your own sleep patterns, and plan accordingly. Teach your dogs to obey commands to sleep in their own beds when it's necessary.

Of course, it may take more convincing to get dog owners to kick their best friends out of bed.