Posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2021 at 4:12 pm
If you are someone who loves to cuddle up with Fido for the night, you have good company, even as far back as ancient history. Egypt’s Rameses the Great’s dog, Pahates, actually had the title “Bed Companion to the Pharoah.” Alexander the Great, and, thousands of years later, Queen Victoria and Czar Peter the Great slept with their pooches as well. So there must be something to the joys of bed-sharing with canines because today, 42 percent of dog owners indulge in the practice as well. There is no question that dog lovers are on to something health-wise. But there are downsides to this practice as well.
The Pros of Sleeping With Your Dog
Many folks say they feel more relaxed when sleeping with their dogs, and studies illustrate even more benefits:
- Sleeping with your dog may help you feel less depressed and anxious since it mimics snoozing under a weighted blanket.
- Dogs can provide security by alerting you to unusual movements or sounds while you are sleeping.
- Veterans, crime victims, and others who have post-traumatic stress disorder report experiencing relief from their nightmare issues when they sleep with their service dogs.
- People who sleep with their dogs help to strengthen their bond with their canine pets.
- If you sleep and/or live alone, dogs may help you to feel less lonely.
So while you may be reaping some important benefits by sleeping with your dog, there are negatives as well. If you suffer from sleep apnea, asthma, insomnia, or allergies, these issues may be aggravated when you slumber with your dog. The insects and bacteria that Spot brought into your home and your bedroom may infect you. Also, if you share your bed with a human, your relationship may suffer.
The Cons of Sleeping With Your Dog:
- If you are one of the millions of people in the U.S. who suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of apnea, you are unfortunately familiar with starts and stops in your breathing when you sleep. Having your dog in bed with you can make your condition worse because dogs are sometimes restless and tend to move around, causing you to awaken even more often. Additionally, obstructive sleep apnea decreases the oxygen in the blood, which at some point may negatively affect your major organs.
- If you have asthma, your symptoms can become worse when you come into contact with animal dander. You might experience tightness in your chest and be forced to gasp for breath. You could even suffer a full-fledged asthma attack. (Usually, this occurs when an asthmatic is allergic to dog dander).
- If you have either short- or long-term insomnia, you have difficulty getting to sleep and/or staying asleep. There are many different reasons why people have insomnia, but it seems logical that sleeping with your dog won’t help the situation. In one study, 20% of participants labeled their pets as disruptive when sleeping in the same room as they do.
But it all depends on your dog’s size, your bed’s dimensions, and your dog’s tendency to toss and turn. If your dog is tiny, and your bed is large, sleeping with your dog may not make your insomnia worse. However, since dogs’ sleep cycles are much shorter than those of humans, the possibility of their being awake and changing their position during one or more of your sleep cycles is high, and that fact may keep you awake.
- If you are allergic to dogs, you should lessen your exposure to this trigger by not allowing your dog to sleep with you in bed. You may experience symptoms such as congestion, a runny nose, an itchy rash, or watery eyes, preventing you from sleeping soundly. Non-allergenic dogs (and cats) do not exist.
- Taking your dog outdoors on a regular basis to play and do their business is great for your canine, but the dirt and feces that they drag inside and onto your bed can make you ill. Also, your animal’s saliva can be infused with bacteria, their coats can become infested with fleas, and they can carry in dangerous ticks. You can easily be infected by these unwanted visitors.
- If your dog interferes with cuddling your partner by lying between you, it’s possible he may be ruining your relationship. Your beloved pet may be disrupting you and your partner’s intimacy, lessening the amount of attention you can give to each other, and interrupting both your and your loved one’s sleep time.
If You Have Sleep Apnea, Call the Sleep Specialists at Silent Night Therapy
Even if you don’t sleep with your dog, you may have a serious sleep issue known as sleep apnea. If you suspect that you do, why not call Dr. Brown at 631-983-2463 to schedule a complimentary consultation? He and our team take pride in treating each patient as a member of our family. If you are dealing with sleep issues that may be a result of sleep apnea, Dr. Brown will devise a treatment plan designed to address your specific issues. You can even start right now on your journey to better health by taking our online quiz. Call today. We all have to sleep well to live well.