There has been a hot debate for many years amongst pet owners about whether should you allow your dog to sleep in bed with you. Research and opinions have generally been split both ways; some people believe pets provide a sense of security when you sleep whereas other people think that dogs can disrupt a person's sleep, leading to health problems in the future.
However, a study published in 2018 by researchers at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, found something entirely new about this debate: Dogs can indeed improve your sleep quality – if you are a woman. The study followed 962 adult women around the United States, 55 percent of who slept in bed with at least one dog and 31 percent who slept with at least one cat. Of these participants, 57 percent also shared their bed with a human partner.
The study revealed an interesting connection between women and their dogs sleeping in bed with them.
"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 wrote. "(It) may be related to dogs’ abilities to deter intruders and warn their owners of potential threats.”
Women felt more secure and therefore fell into a deeper sleep because their dogs were the equivalent to their security systems.
Furthermore, the study noted that women who took care of their canine partners were more likely to stick to a schedule and go to sleep around the same time and for the same number of hours. “Dog ownership and its associated responsibilities may cause individuals to adhere to a stricter routine. Keeping to a consistent sleep schedule may be beneficial to dog owners,” the authors stated.
The research also found that women do not gain the same sleep benefits when they sleep with a cat in the bed. The study found that “Conversely, cats who slept in their owner’s bed were reported to be equally disruptive as human partners, and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners.”
If you are looking for a good restful night's sleep, turn to your dog and not your cat. Don't forget to fluff up your dog's pillow for him, too.