It’s Time to Kick Fido Out — of Bed, That Is

A study was recently conducted that raises concerns about the quality of sleep people obtain when their dog is in the bed with them. This problem could be even worse if multiple dogs are sleeping with an owner. A dog crawling underneath the covers, kicking while dreaming, or moving around during the night most assuredly disturbs the owner’s rest. The owner may not even be aware that their sleep is being affected, particularly if they have been sleeping with their dog for years. People are able to tell when they are having extreme difficulty sleeping, such as excessive nightmares or insomnia, but if someone is sleeping relatively normally, but not particularly deeply or good quality sleep, they may not know there is an issue. What seems normal to them could actually be less than ideal sleep. Dogs sleeping in the room with their owner (but not in the bed) seems to have no negative effect on the owner’s quality of sleep, it is only when the dog and owner share a bed that the sleep was disturbed. The study was conducted by placing monitors on the owner’s wrist and on the dog. The owners also completed a sleep journal that described their sleeping habits throughout the duration of the study.

Key Points:

  • 1Dogs were provided with a Fitbark monitor that showed the dog’s motion, while the human study subjects had monitoring equipment that gaged both motion and light.
  • 2The chosen 40 subjects, mainly women, who owned one dog they allowed to sleep in their room at night, were asked to keep a sleep journal.
  • 3While the monitors showed human sleep was affected by the proximity of their pet, the pet’s were unaffected.

Researchers concluded that a human’s sleep efficiency was higher and wakefulness after sleep began was lower when the dog was in the room, but not in the bed.

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