To pet owners and animal lovers, sleeping with dogs is quite a normal part of their bedtime routine. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 46% of respondents said that their pets sleep in the same bed as them. However, doing this might not always be a good thing.

Find out why.

What are the downsides of sleeping with dogs?

Researchers from Lincoln Memorial University conducted a study to see whether sleeping with dogs affected pet owners’ sleep quality. Though they can’t definitively conclude that it’s Fido’s fault (as to why their humans can’t sleep properly at night), based on the university’s previous studies, it’s found that those who have pets beside them when they sleep are more likely to have trouble sleeping.

According to Dr. Lauren Wisnieski, an assistant professor in the Public Health and Research and Affiliation, “On the one hand, dogs and cats may be beneficial for an owner’s quality of sleep due to the social support that pets provide – pets offer a sense of security and companionship, which may result in improvements in levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Yet on the other hand, pets may disrupt their owners’ sleep.”

However, the experts can’t say for sure why having pets beside you when you sleep can increase one’s likelihood of suffering from sleep disturbances — it just so happens that the results of their studies were consistent with their observations. Dr. Lauren Wisnieski added that they’re yet to “ask owners more about where their pets sleep and how those pets are disrupting their sleep.”

Therefore, if you have pups that are small enough to not disrupt your sleep, pooches who sleep peacefully at night, or doggos who don’t take up more than half of your bed space, this means they don’t automatically have to be banned from the bed!

Are there benefits of having our pets sleep beside us?

Your furry companions would be delighted to know that they have several experts on their side as well — because there have also been studies where it’s found that sleeping with dogs can be beneficial to pet owners! For instance, owning and taking care of a dog can increase a person’s oxytocin levels — aka the “Hormone of Love” as it can make a person feel the “need” to nurture someone; in this case, our dogs. Moreover, producing oxytocin can help reduce depression and/or anxiety. When oxytocin is released, it can also help produce theta brainwaves — a brain wave rhythm that’s known to occur when a person is in their REM stage of sleep.

Most pet owners also feel a better sense of security when sleeping with their dogs — doing this can also help a person sleep better as it reduces anxiety and feelings of isolation; this is sometimes called “The Pet Effect” — but that’s not the only term that was coined because of people cuddling with their dogs.

The idiom “three dog night” is said to originate from the Siberian indigenous people back when they had to cuddle with their Siberian Huskies at night because of the harsh cold weather — and temperatures were measured based on how many Huskies they needed beside them to warm them up. Though that origin story of the idiom may very well be a legend, sleeping beside dogs is a bedtime routine that’s been done way back then!

How do I get better quality sleep?

If you’re having a hard time picking between sleeping with your dog and getting a good night’s sleep, there are a few ways that you can get better quality sleep without banning your pup from your bedroom. You can:

  • Set up the crate or the dog bed beside the bed you’ll be sleeping in so your pup can still be at an arm’s length from you.
  • Stick to your sleep schedule so you won’t have a hard time staying awake and falling asleep.
  • Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom so you won’t be distracted by bright lights or loud noises.
  • That said, a few hours before you’re about to sleep, you can also limit your use of technology — such as your laptop, phone, or tablet.


There are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to sleeping with dogs. On one hand, they can be the reason why you’re not getting good-quality sleep. On the other hand, they probably also help you feel more relaxed when you’re about to doze off. It won’t be easy to determine whether or not our pups are the reason why we sometimes have sleep disturbances — as even researchers and experts can’t say for certain that dogs have anything to do with our sleep quality either. But if your lack of sleep (or a good night’s sleep) is continuously and extensively bothering you, you can do a little experiment yourself and test if Fido is better off in his own crate or snoozing beside you.

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