There’s nothing like coming home to your warm, waggy four-legged friend. But is sleeping with your pooch taking it too far? Dogs provide a special kind of comfort that is so irresistible — especially when you’re feeling cozy under your duvet — so after hearing multiple opinions about the subject, I decided it was high time to find out for myself.
Last week I was housesitting for my sister while looking after her extremely neurotic, Larry-David-esque pedigree dachshund, so you could say I had my hands full. Not only does Freddie the Dachshund (or @freddie_dumbo_doxie, as he’s known on Instagram) live to snuggle, he’s also incredibly cute, so as you can imagine, shunning a party-favor sized wiener from the bed night after night was not easy.
I decided to sleep with him in the bed for four out of the seven nights and track my sleep results using an app. On the fourth night when I was forced to banish him to the constraints of his sausage-shaped doggy bed, he was not happy — but according to my app I had three full REM cycles, as opposed to the mere two that I had supposedly been having the previous nights! I was shocked, and a little excited about my newfound sleep results, so I continued to look into his longing eyes for the next couple of nights and coldly say NO to the bed. I also tried to vary where he slept on the bed (under the duvet versus over), but that did not seem to affect my sleep results too much.
I did a little more research and found a study done on 40 healthy dog owners without sleep disorders over the course of five months. The participants were asked to wear activity trackers to track their sleeping habits for seven nights. According to the study, sleeping with a dog in the room didn’t disturb human sleep at all, whether the pooch was a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. Researchers did find, however, that actually sharing the bed with a pooch diminished human sleep efficiency by a modest percentage.
In the end, I decided that the benefits of sharing a snuggle with my four-legged friend outweighed the cost. With Freddie allowed back onto the island of love, I could rest easy and let the paws fall as they may — and I didn’t even notice missing any sleep.