Your dog can improve your sleep

The science:

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that many adults had a better night of sleep when their dog was in the room.

Expert insight:

Researchers studied the sleep patterns of 40 healthy dog-owners over the course of five months. Both humans and animals wore activity trackers to monitor nightly movement. For many people, having dogs in the room actually yielded a better night of sleep, probably because they felt more secure with their pet nearby. According to the study, participants that slept with dogs in the room (but not on the bed) maintained 83 percent 'sleep efficiency,' which compares the amount of time spent asleep to total time in bed. About 80 percent is typically considered satisfactory.

However, researchers caution against letting a dog doze next to you. According to Lois Krahn, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine in Phoenix, Arizona and an author of the study, sleep benefits can only be gained from having dogs in your bedroom, but not in the bed, since some study participants who chose to sleep in the same bed with their pets sacrificed sleep. “If the dog is moving a lot during the night, that can disrupt the quality of your sleep,” explains James Maas, Ph.D., author of Sleep for Success! based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.

The bottom line:

The study suggests that your best bet is to get a dog bed for your pet and place it near your own. But if you feel you must share the bed with your pup, don't worry too much, says Maas. He believes“people who find comfort, warmth, and security from sleeping with pets should do it.” Plus, pet owners that shared the bed in the study still had an average of about 80 percent sleep efficiency (which, as noted, is satisfactory).