Is having a dog companion in the bedroom helpful or detrimental to an individual's sleep quality? A new Mayo Clinic study says having canine companions could actually help some people sleep better.

Detriment Or Comfort?

Today, 40 million American households have canine companions. More than just being pets, many think of their dogs as members of the family. However, people are still divided when it comes to letting their dogs sleep in the bedroom. While others find it comforting, some find that having their dogs in the bedroom is a detriment to their sleep quality.

To clear things up a little bit, researchers from Mayo Clinic's Center for Sleep Medicine conducted a study on the effects of having dogs in the bedroom on human sleep. To do this, they enlisted 40 healthy individuals without any sleep disorders and with dogs of over 5 months old. Both the dogs and the owners were given sleeping trackers to monitor their sleep patterns for seven nights.

Let The Dogs In

What researchers found was that the participants who let their dogs sleep in the bedroom actually had good sleep regardless of whether their dogs were small such as Yorkshire Terriers or large such as Great Danes. However, participants who let their dogs actually sleep in the bed with them experienced disrupted sleep.

Basically, letting the dogs sleep in the bedroom results in good sleep quality, but having them on the bed results in poorer sleep quality.

It's worth noting that the sample size of the study is fairly small at just 40 participants, so perhaps further and larger studies may be needed to confirm the findings. What's more, none of the dogs were below 6 months of age, so the results will likely be different with young and energetic puppies.

The Comfort Dogs Provide

According to researchers, the relationship between humans and their pets have changed over the years, with more and more people wanting to spend as much time as they can with their pets when they get home from work. This is likely why many of pet owners opt to having their pets in the bedroom even while they sleep and perhaps why they unknowingly find comfort in having their pets in the bedroom.

Despite the limitations of the study, it may still be comforting for some people to know that having their dogs in the bedroom while they sleep won't cause sleep problems and disruptions — as long as they stay off the bed, that is.

The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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