Rest Assured, Having Fido in Bedroom Does Not Harm Sleep

By Rick Naurert PhD
November 24th, 2021
Medically reviewed by Paul Sietes, MD.
Rest Assured, Having Fido in Bedroom Does Not Harm Sleep

Some animal lovers may still worry that sleeping with a pet may disrupt sleep. And this is no small matter as the American Veterinary Association says more than 40 million American households have dogs.

Of these households, 63 percent consider their canine companions to be family. Many draw the line at having their furry family members sleep with them for fear of sacrificing sleep quality.

“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” said Lois Krahn, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on the Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and an author of the study.

“We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.”

The study appears in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers evaluated the sleep of 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs over five months. Methodologically, participants and their dogs wore activity trackers to track their sleeping habits for seven nights.

According to the study, sleeping with dogs helps some people sleep better, no matter if they’re snoozing with a small schnauzer or dozing with a Great Dane.

There is one caveat, however. Don’t let your canines crawl under the covers with you.

The sleep benefit extends only to having dogs in your bedroom, not in your bed. According to the study, adults who snuggled up to their pups in bed sacrificed quality sleep.

“The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” Krahn said.

“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that.

And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

So, go ahead. Turn your sheepdog into a sleep dog. Just make sure they are relegated to their own bark-o-lounger, rather than your bed.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Dr. Rick Naurert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Naurert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.