For the study, researchers collated survey data from 962 adult women living in the U.S. Based on the results, 55 percent of the participants shared their bed with at least one dog while 31 percent of the women slept next to at least one cat. Additionally, 57 percent of the women slept next to a human partner.
The study showed that participants who slept in the same bed as their pet dog reported "a much better night of rest than doing so with a cat" or even another human.
The researchers explained that compared with human partners, dogs who slept in their owner’s bed disturbed the women's sleep less. The dogs were also associated with "stronger feelings of comfort and security." (Related: Protect yourself against risk of early death: Get a dog.)
On the other hand, the women who slept next to cats reported that the latter were just as disruptive as human partners. The cats were also associated with "weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners."
The researchers also noted that the volunteers who owned dogs went to bed earlier and woke up earlier compared to cat owners.
This is good news for people who have a hard time waking up early, especially since there is mounting evidence that being an early riser is associated with several benefits such as better mental health and increased productivity.
The only downside to this is that dogs may shed on your bed. Being in close proximity to a pet can also trigger allergies.
Your dog may also start thinking that you are equals since they are allowed to share your bed. Cori Gross, a Seattle veterinarian, said that if you're worried that letting your dog sleep in your bed may cause dominance issues, you can teach your dog that you are still the leader of the pack.
If your dog is well-behaved, sharing a bed won't cause any problems. Even if your dog does have dominance issues, you can train them that being allowed on your bed is a privilege, not a right.
You can do this by getting your pet a dog bed and training him to stay in it when ordered to do so. This isn't as difficult as it sounds since dogs have an ingrained understanding of territory. Just be firm while you're training them to sleep in their own bed.
Susan Nelson, a clinical associate professor at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, explained that pet dogs add companionship. They can be a source of extra warmth on a cold night, and dogs can provide a sense of security, especially for children who have trouble sleeping alone in their bedrooms.
Dogs also give owners an added sense of safety from potential intruders. Nelson added that letting your dog sleep in your bed can also foster a closer bond between the two of you.
As long as your dog is well-trained, there's no harm in sharing your bed with them so you can get a good night's sleep.