We get it: you love your dog. You post pictures of your pooch on Instagram, you bring it to brunch, and you have one of those nauseating little family sticker for your furry friend on your car. You even let your dog sleep in your bed at night against the wishes of your significant other or family. While you might think that sharing your bed with your dog is just one more way of bonding with your best friend, think again: the world-renowned Mayo Clinic has just published a study which shows that sleeping with your dog is actually detrimental to the quality of sleep both of you get.
The new research is titled “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment” and was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The study asked 40 adults without sleep disorders and their adult dogs to wear accelerometers while they slept. Accelerometers are the motion-sensing microchips inside your phone and other gadgets which can detect and measure movements. In this study, the accelerometers measured how much canines and their owners moved around in their sleep in order to measure their overall sleep efficiency, the ratio of the total time spent asleep in a night compared to the total amount of time spent in bed.
The study found that dog owners with dogs in the bedroom in general had an average sleep efficiency rating of 83 percent, while dog owners who let their pets share their beds saw their sleep efficiencies fall to 80 percent. While this might not sound like a drastic decline, consider that most sleep researchers believe an efficiency of around 90% is considered healthy. Dog owners who share a bed were found to wake up more often – and so did their dogs.
What does this mean for you and your pooch? It means buy a dog bed and let your pet have its own sleep space, weirdo. Thank me later when those dark circles under your eyes are gone. Getting regular healthy sleep benefits the body and mind in ways scientists are just beginning to understand. Your dog will get over it.
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