Are you one of the 47 percent of U.S. households who has a pet? If so, there’s a good chance your dog or cat sleeps with you. Nope, we’re not psychics …. We’re just stating the facts.
Can you believe that at least 50 percent of household pets (dogs or cats) sleep in their owners’ beds on a regular basis?
(How many of you are getting ready to email this article to prove to your significant other that Sparky NEEDS to sleep in bed with you at night?)
And what about those friends of yours who say “Yuck, what about germs or fleas or dirt or something?” Well, you can email them too because the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has no explicit warnings about having pets sleep in bed with you. The only time you might want to buy Sparky his own bed is if you suffer from a weak immune system. Those who fall into this category may include small children and the elderly.
If you’re an animal person, you know that feeling you get when you pet a dog or cuddle with a kitten. Touching animals releases oxytocin, which is referred to as the cuddle chemical or love hormone. It creates feelings of relaxation, trust, and psychological stability.
Studies have shown there are multiple benefits to sleeping with a pet … for both you and Fido! We find a sense of warmth and security as well as feeling calmer. For some, the rhythmic breathing of our cuddle buddy lulls us to sleep. And for others, we feel content and relaxed. It has also been proven that dogs relieve anxiety in humans.
There are service dogs that work with people who have severe anxiety disorders. These dogs make it easier for people to live their lives and do everyday tasks such as going to work and shopping for groceries. Don’t forget the warmth. We all know our little (or big) bundles can be small heaters. How many of us have tucked our cold feet closer to the dog on a cold winter night? These nightly sleep sessions are also beneficial to our pets. It is believed that they feel loved and more secure when they can spend this time with their owners.
Let’s take the research one step further. There are multiple benefits to having pets in the home. People with pets in the home report lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels and decreased feelings of loneliness. Pets also have a tendency to provide us with more opportunities for physical health and socialization. We often take our dogs for an evening walk through the neighborhood, stopping along the way to chat with neighbors and friends. This gives us the chance to burn extra calories from dinner, get those daily steps in, and catch up on the latest neighborhood gossip.
(Psst, did you hear Nancy and Bill’s son got accepted to Harvard!) And don’t forget about the single guys and gals with cute dogs roaming dog park! Go borrow your friend’s pooch and tag along!
Of course, that physical activity will help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Studies have shown that those who have daily physical activity get an average of 19 minutes more deep sleep, and have 13 percent less middle of the night wake-ups than those who don’t get daily activity.
So, snuggle with your beloved pet... and sleep happily ever after!