There are times where I come across a study that makes me wonder why it was the subject of a study at all. I understand there is a wide variety of people in this world and with that comes a giant span of interests. But still, I find myself surprised by the research or surveys people spend their time conducting and then sorting through the data. One of those surprises being the research team that investigated whether women sleep better when sharing the bed with a dog vs their partner.
There was a study conducted by a team of researchers, led by associate professor Christy L. Hoffman, from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, that discovered women do sleep better when they’re next to a dog vs when they sleep with a person. And this held true to just dogs, not pets in general.
The team who dedicated a lot of time to this surveyed 962 women who live across the US. Of those included in that sample, 57 percent share the bed with their partner; 55 percent said they share their bed with at least one dog, and 31 percent said they share the bed with at least one cat.
During this survey, those who participated filled out a questionnaire about their sleep and how they felt with their partner, dog, or cat. They were asked how that other body in the bed affected their feelings of security at night and their sleep. After the research team spent time analyzing all the dates, they came to the conclusion that cats and humans in the bed were all around disruptive to sleep, but dogs were not.
Another small study conducted by the Mayo Clinic called “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment” in 2007 looked at 40 men and women who sleep with their dogs on a regular. This study shows that yeah, people sleep better with their dogs in their room, but not when they’re in the actual bed with them.
So, I guess that’s where the men and women differ here. However, both studies looked at very small sample sizes, and that’s not lost on me. This is probably why I find this topic so fun—and a little confusing that it’s a research area. But it’s good water-cooler chat, right?
Neither study showed a big enough pool of people to say definitively that we should boot our partner to the couch and cuddle up with our dog. But you don’t really have to tell me twice.