Getting good sleep is important for staying healthy, and researchers are always looking into the best ways to achieve that. A recent study from Canisius College in New York State suggests that women sleep better next to dogs than humans or cats, challenging common practices like drinking chamomile tea or meditating before bed.
In the study, Dr. Christy Hoffman, an animal behaviorist, discovered that women often prefer dogs over cats and humans as bed partners, stating that dogs improve their sleep quality.
The research concludes that women sleep better with dogs.
Dr. Hoffman asked around 1,000 women in the U.S. about their sleep habits. The results revealed that 55% slept with a dog, 31% with a cat, and 57% with a human partner, while the rest didn’t share their bed.
Dr. Hoffman found out why dogs are good sleeping buddies. One reason is that dogs’ sleep patterns are more like humans, unlike cats.
Hoffman mentioned that the gap between dogs and cats in sleep habits isn’t shocking, as dogs’ main sleep times align more closely with humans compared to cats.
Even though having similar sleep patterns with dogs could be beneficial, more research is required to be sure.
Hoffman suggests that dogs might be better at adjusting to their owner’s sleep schedule compared to human partners. Unlike humans, who often have different bedtime and wake-up times, dogs may adapt more easily to their owner’s schedule, potentially causing less disruption to sleep.
Additionally, dogs need routines like morning walks, which helps owners establish a schedule and ultimately enhances sleep quality.
Tranquility and Safety
Furthermore, dogs usually stay still when they sleep. If you’ve slept with someone who moves a lot, you know how bothersome it can be. In the study, women mentioned that their dogs stayed on the bed throughout the night, unlike cats that often came and went.
“This indicates that cats might be more prone to disturbances by moving on and off the bed during the night. Also, we observed that dog owners stick to more consistent sleep schedules compared to cat owners, and they generally go to bed and wake up earlier,” explained Hoffman.
The third and crucial reason is that dogs offer a strong feeling of safety to their owners, more than cats or even human partners.
“Dog owners might find reassurance in knowing that their dog can alert them in case of an intruder or emergency. Additionally, a dog’s bark could discourage potential intruders. Cats are less likely to play this protective role, so they may not offer the same psychological comfort as dogs,” explained Hoffman.
The Ideal Sleep Companion
Although the research proposes that dogs are excellent sleep companions, the advantages vary for each person. Some dogs might snore or make the bed too warm. Moreover, some owners feel that their cats contribute positively to their sleep.
It’s crucial to note that the study relied on how volunteers felt about their pets’ impact on sleep quality and duration. So, more impartial research is necessary to firmly conclude that dogs are superior sleep partners. However, Hoffman thinks these studies are valuable, considering many American households have pets.
“It’s important to keep exploring this topic to understand when having pets in bed can improve sleep quality and when it might make it worse,” she explained.
As an example, studies have indicated that women often sleep better alone than with a human partner, contrary to common belief. Future research could employ devices similar to Fitbit to accurately monitor the sleep quality of individuals in various sleeping situations.