Science Shows That Women Sleep Better Next To Dogs Than Men

It’s no secret that sleep is vital for one’s health, which is why researchers constantly study the best ways to achieve high-quality rest. Forget chamomile tea and meditation before bed—new research suggests that women sleep better next to dogs. Canisius College in New York State conducted a study revealing that dogs make better sleeping partners than humans or cats.

“We found that women commonly rate dogs as better bed partners than cats and human partners, and report that their dogs enhance their sleep quality,” said Christy Hoffman, Ph.D., an animal behaviorist and the lead researcher of the study.

Research Finds that Women Sleep Better Next to Dogs

Hoffman surveyed almost one thousand women living in the United States to come to these findings. The results showed that 55% of participants shared their bed with at least one dog and 31% with at least one cat. Additionally, 57% of these women shared a bed with a human partner, while the rest did not.

Hoffman discovered several reasons why dogs seem to make the best bed companions. First, dogs’ sleeping patterns more closely resemble those of humans compared to cats.

“The difference between dogs and cats is not surprising because dogs’ major sleep periods tend to coincide more closely with humans’ than do cats’,” said Hoffman.

Although these similar sleeping patterns might offer benefits, more research is needed to confirm this. Hoffman has some ideas on why this might be the case.

“In comparison to human bed partners, dogs may be better at accommodating their human’s sleep schedule,” she explained. “It’s not uncommon for human bed partners to go to bed at very different times and wake up at very different times. Such differences in partners’ schedules can certainly disrupt sleep. It may be that dog bed partners adapt more readily to their owner’s schedule than do human bed partners.”

Additionally, dogs require certain schedules and responsibilities, such as morning walks. This kind of routine helps their owners maintain a consistent schedule, improving sleep quality as a result.

Stillness and Security

Dogs tend to stay still as they sleep, which can be beneficial for those who have experienced the disruption of a fidgety partner. Women in the study reported that their dogs stayed on the bed most of the night, unlike cats, who tended to come and go.

“This suggests that cats may be more likely than dogs to create disruptions by moving on and off the bed during the night. In addition, we found that dog owners kept to more consistent bedtime and wake time schedules than cat owners and also tended to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than cat owners,” Hoffman said.

Another significant reason is that dogs provide a sense of security to their owners, more so than cats or even human partners.

“Some dog owners may take comfort in the thought that their dog will alert them in the case of an intruder or other type of emergency; furthermore, a dog’s bark may deter a potential intruder. A cat is less likely to take on this role, and so, may not provide psychological comfort in the same way a dog might,” said Hoffman.

The Best Partner for Quality Sleep

While the study suggests that dogs are the perfect slumber buddies, their benefits are subjective. For example, a dog could snore or make the bed too hot. Additionally, many owners find that their cats help them sleep.

It’s important to remember that this research is based on how volunteers perceive their pets’ effects on their sleep quality and duration. As a result, more objective research is needed to definitively consider dogs the superior sleeping partners. Hoffman believes that these studies could be beneficial since many American households have pets.

“It will be valuable to continue this line of research so we can develop a clearer picture of the contexts under which pets and their presence in their owner’s bed may positively impact sleep quality, and the contexts under which co-sleeping with a pet may be detrimental to one’s sleep quality,” she said.

For instance, research has also shown that women sleep better while alone than with a human, but many believe the opposite. Future research could use Fitbit-like devices to objectively track the sleep quality of people in different sleeping conditions.

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