MINNEAPOLIS – According to the Academy of Sleep Medicine, almost half of Americans sleep with their pets.
Many agree that having a pet at our side makes our days better. And for some, the nights, too.
Dr. Lindsay Merkel, associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Minnesota’s School of Veterinary Medicine, sleeps in a very full bed at night.
“In our be, four Chihuahuas and one Miniature Dachshund,” Merkel said.
Including her husband, that’s seven mammals all snuggled up. So you may not be surprised to hear her answer to our question.
“Given everything that we understand about the benefits that we can gain by having them sleep with us, I think yes, having them sleep with us is a good idea,” she said. “It seems to bring out the beneficial hormones that we need for stress relief and feeling good about ourselves, the dopamine and the oxytocin.”
The Mayo Clinic did some research, too. A sleep study tracked dogs sleeping in the bedroom, and their humans. Theconclusion? Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency. However, the dog’s position on and off the bed made a difference.
The study says having the dog in bed can disrupt sleep, but having the dog on the floor by the bed does not.
But, as long as you don’t have allergies and they don’t have parasites, Dr. Merkel says it’s OK to go all in.
“It seems like the proof that having them in your bed is actually beneficial for both of you,” she said.
So snuggle in, and don’t look back.
As for cats, Dr. Merkel that’s OK, too – but felines in general don’t seem as interested in co-sleeping.