Dogs are one of the UK’s favourite pets. According to PDSA, 24% of Brits share their home with at least one canine friend. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular: not only are they cute, but they provide a sense of unconditional companionship.
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.
As a result, sleep experts Dormeo have pulled together 5 ways dogs can benefit you sleep:
THEY PROVIDE 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. Many types of dogs are still good at alerting us of any unusual activity around our homes, especially at night when we’re trying to rest.
As well as the physical security of having a dog, your furry friend can also 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 was the sense of security they experienced through the night.
THEY CAN REDUCE ALLERGIES
With summer fast approaching, the dread of allergy season is at the forefront of many people’s minds. One study looking at allergies showed that infants who slept with their pets are less likely to develop allergies later in life.
Exposure to allergens carried by dogs seem to have a positive impact on our reaction to allergies. While this may not be the case for everyone, with hay fever season on the horizon, spending more time with your dog could actually improve your sleep.
THEY RELIEVE ANXIETY AND STRESS
Dogs are proven to have a positive impact on mental illness, such as anxiety and stress. A study presented by Science Daily showed that petting a dog for 10 minutes or more significantly reduces cortisol, a major stress hormone. By reducing stress in the body this could substantially benefit our mental and physical health.
As mental health and quality of rest are naturally linked, 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 MORNING MOTIVATION
If you aren’t a morning person, being a dog owner can give you extra motivation to get up. Having the responsibility of caring for a dog means that a routine is extremely important, which ultimately benefits your sleep cycle. And, what is more pleasing than waking up to a happy dog?
By sticking to a regular getting-up-time each day, you can improve your overall sleep. This is because your body clock benefits from having a regular routine and finds it much easier to regulate sleep if you’re in a pattern. So, next time your dog unwelcomingly wakes you up on a weekend just think of the good it’s doing you.
THEY HELP YOU UNWIND 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 like to relax on the sofa with a good book or take a bubble bath, it can enforce your body clock’s routine and encourage a better night’s sleep.
There are plenty of ways to unwind in the evening which involves your canine friend, including a dog walk, cuddle from you pooch on the sofa or even a spot of dog yoga – all of which will help you relax and make your furry buddy extremely happy.
Sleep Expert at Dormeo, Phil Lawlor said:
“While dog lovers will always find an excuse to snuggle up to their canine companion, there is actually huge benefits to doing so. Not only can dogs boost mental wellbeing and reduce anxiety levels, but they also encourage you to stick to a routine which is the key to great night’s sleep.
Saying that, it is important to feel comfortable in bed, so as long as your four-legged friend isn’t taking up too much room, letting them sleep on your bed or in your bedroom could be the key to improving your sleep.”