Sleep expert explains why your pooch is the ideal bedtime buddy
If there's one good thing to come from a nationwide lockdown, it's that you've now got even more time to spend with your beloved pets — including bedtime! Here, Phil Lawlor, a sleep expert from Dormeo, explains why cuddling up to man's best friend each night can be good for you.
Your four-legged friends can do wonders for your mental health. Not only can they provide companionship — which has become even more important in recent months — but they can also help to reduce stress, boost physical wellbeing, and improve your sleep health. If you're debating whether your bed is the best place for your pooch, I'll be giving you my top four reasons why you should be snuggling into your dog each night.
It can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
It's no secret that your dog can boost your mood, but it's actually a scientific fact that interacting with your furry friends can improve your bond and even increase your levels of oxytocin (the cuddle hormone), according to research published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour. Oxytocin is very important for decision-making, stress management, and memory-making, and can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (PMC). This means that cuddling up to your furry friends under a cosy blanket could help to boost your mood and your wellbeing, which can help you sleep more soundly.
It can reduce stress and improve heart health
Not only can sleeping with your pet boost your mental wellbeing, but it can also help improve your physical health. Oxytocin has been linked to stress response, and it's thought that the presence of the hormone can help reduce feelings of anxiety, lower blood pressure, and prevent cardiovascular disease (NCBI). So, if you're getting more oxytocin from sleeping with your pooch, it'll not only help your mental wellbeing but keep your heart healthy too!
It can help boost your dog's mood
There's no doubt that your dog will be loving all the extra love and attention, and a little cuddle now and then not only boosts your mood but your dog's mood too (NCBI). After studying the behavioural patterns and hormone levels of dogs and their owners, scientists have found that petting, stroking, and talking to your dog can boost their oxytocin levels, which help improve their mood and reduce stress.
So, if you're worried your pooch might be feeling a little down or anxious, bringing them to bed with you might help them feel better. To really help your dog unwind, you could also try Murphy & Bailey's calming range, which features sprays, wipes, and plug-in diffusers all designed to keep your dog feeling calm and relaxed, so you can both get a great night's sleep.
It can help you feel more secure at night
Not only can you benefit from improved health and wellbeing but, by having your furry friend with you, you might also feel safer. Results from a 2018 survey showed that women who slept with their dog nearby felt more comfortable and secure compared to those who slept with a partner or on their own. If you feel secure when you climb into bed at night, you're likely to feel more relaxed, which can help you fall into a sound sleep more quickly. Even if you find having your pet in bed with you disturbs your sleep, just having them sleep in a dog bed beside you can help boost your sleep health.
These are just some of the reasons you should welcome your four-legged friends into your bed at night. But remember, if you've recently adopted a new puppy, it's wise to let them sleep on their own for a while until they're fully trained.