How your dog is giving you a better night’s sleep

Dogs are one of the UK’s favourite pets, with 24% of the us Brits sharing our homes with them (PDSA). It’s easy to see why they’re so popular: not only are they cute, furry, and always up for a cuddle, but they provide a sense of unconditional companionship that’s pretty irreplaceable.

The perks don’t end there though: a recent study by Cansius College, New York, found that women sleep more soundly when they share their bed with a dog than with another human or a cat. But, you might not even need to risk those muddy pawprints on your bedding to feel the benefit.

It’s widely thought that simply caring for and living with our furry friends might be giving us a better quality of rest on a regular basis. Below, we’ve listed some of the reasons that your dog might be helping you to sleep more soundly.

They provide extra security

The idea of a dog looking after our territory at night is thousands of years old ­— in fact, one of the reasons humans first began to domesticate the species was to guard livestock against predators. While wolves and the like are not the problem anymore, many types of dogs are still pretty good at alerting us to any suspicious activity around our homes, especially at night when we’re trying to rest.

However, it’s not just the physical security that a dog can offer that can help you sleep at night. Having your furry friend around can give you a sense of emotional security that can be beneficial for rest, particularly if you’re sharing a room with your pet. This is backed up by a 2015 study that found most people who owned dogs said that one of the main benefits of was the sense of security that they experienced through the night.

They relieve anxiety and stress

We’ve already mentioned the emotional security that a dog can give you, but this can also extend to relieving forms of mental illness, such as anxiety and stress. Pet therapy is an increasingly popular form of treatment for patients suffering from these conditions, and there is now scientific evidence confirming this — joint research by the University of Sheffield and Guide Dogs for the Blind found that anxiety and blood pressure dropped after spending time with dogs.

This may leave you wondering how this affects sleep? Well, as we discussed in a past blog post, your mental health and quality of rest are naturally linked, and when one causes problems, it usually impacts the other. Therefore, having a canine companion around to help you feel relaxed and stress-free can only be a good thing for your sleep.

They give you motivation to get up in the morning

Being a dog owner can also give you extra motivation to get up in the morning, which can be very beneficial if you’re not really a fan of early starts. Taking on the responsibility of caring for a pet means that you need to get up and tend to them, which is often the best alarm clock around. And, what’s more pleasing to wake up to than a happy dog who’s excited to see you?

Though it might just seem like you’re waking up early on the surface, sticking to a regular getting-up-time each day is a great way of improving your sleep overall. This is because your body clock benefits from having a regular routine and finds it much easier to regulate sleep if you’re always getting up and going to sleep at similar times. So, next time your dog is snuffling around your bed in the morning, just think of the good it’s doing you.

They help you to wind down in the evening

Sticking with the topic of daily routines, did you know that performing the same set of tasks each night is a great way to prepare your body for sleep? For instance, if you regularly take your dog for a walk before you both settle down or if you like to enjoy a cuddle from your pooch on the sofa in the evenings, it can help to enforce your body clock’s routine.

One of our top tips for a winding down routine in the evening is to enjoy a relaxing activity before bed, and if this involves your furry friend in some way, then you can definitely say they’ve helped to boost your sleep quality.

Hopefully, we’ve shared a few surprising ways that your dog is helping to improve your sleep. Sure, they can be a little disruptive at times, but overall, they’re very beneficial.  

Do you have any questions about the science of sleep? Then be sure to contact our sleep experts. Or, head to our blog and advice centre for more help.

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