Humans and dogs have been sleeping together for centuries and can ease anxiety while also providing a feeling of security and safety. However, this can also negatively affect your sleep since dogs and humans have different sleep cycles. Just under half of all pet owners let their dogs sleep with them, and if you are one of these pet owners, you have probably been told by someone that you should not do that. Although there are negatives to sleeping with your dog, there are some awesome benefits to it as well!
In the past, people would sleep alongside their dogs for some warmth and even to protect from evil spirits. Nowadays people tend to focus on the negatives of co-sleeping with your dog rather than the benefits. This can stem from the risk of health issues from allergies in humans. There is also the unlikely risk of diseases being transmitted from your dog to you.
One of the big reasons sleeping with your pet in your bed can be problematic is because it can affect your sleep. This is because your sleep will most likely be disturbed more since humans are monophasic sleepers which means they sleep for one period over a 24 hour window while dogs are polyphasic sleepers which means they sleep for an average of three sleep cycles during the nighttime.
There are some myths that are good to dispel. It is not true that your dog will think of himself as dominant to you or become spoiled. There can be a link between behavioral problems and bed sharing. Sometimes it is the behavioral problems that lead to bed sharing rather than the other way around. For example, your dog may struggle with separation anxiety and you let in to him or her sleeping in bed with you.
If your dog is well-adjusted and behaves well, having your dog sleep in your bed with you will make your pup happy and comfort you, especially during lonely times with everything being closed down these days. However, if your dog starts to get aggressive or display other persistent behavior problems, you should create a space for your dog to sleep alone while you figure out how to remedy your dog’s behavior problems.
There are many physical and mental benefits to owning a dog in general and these benefits could potentially increase the benefits you see from being with your dog. This can bring a better sense of comfort to you and your dog because of the companionship between the two of you. The best parts are that your dog can provide warmth in the colder months, alert you to anything unexpected, and wake you up with a wagging tail!
You can ask yourself some of these questions before deciding if having your dog sleep with you is the right decision for you. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you waking up refreshed or tired? Do you feel like you have enough room to move around in your bed? Do you have allergies?