Studies have shown many physical and mental health advantages to owning a pet, and co-sleeping increases the amount of time spent with that pet, potentially increasing those benefits. For example, co-sleeping can increase the feelings of comfort and companionship your dog provides.
Are dogs happier when they sleep with you?
Sleeping together gives dogs an emotional connection to their owners. Dogs feel love and gratitude towards you, just like you feel towards them. This time together can create a stronger bond, and show your dog that you are a source of comfort to them.
The Power of Pets
Nothing compares to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than keep you company. Pets may also decrease stress, improve heart health, and even help children with their emotional and social skills.
An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. But who benefits from an animal? And which type of pet brings health benefits?
Over the past 10 years, NIH has partnered with the Mars Corporation’s WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition to answer questions like these by funding research studies.
Scientists are looking at what the potential physical and mental health benefits are for different animals—from fish to guinea pigs to dogs and cats.
Possible Health Effects
Research on human-animal interactions is still relatively new. Some studies have shown positive health effects, but the results have been mixed.
Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
Animals can serve as a source of comfort and support. Therapy dogs are especially good at this. They’re sometimes brought into hospitals or nursing homes to help reduce patients’ stress and anxiety.
Keep a consistent bedtime routine: Like humans, animals have a circadian rhythm that governs when they feel tired and when they feel awake. Going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day may help you and your pet stay on a relatively similar sleep-wake cycle and protect against restless nights.
Even though companion animal sleep patterns differ from our own, many people are able to successfully share a bed with their pet by making some adjustments. To ensure a positive sleeping experience, be aware of overheating or any other signs that your pet might not be sleeping well. Small children and small pets should not share the bed with others, due to the risk of injury.
The SpineAlign Team