It’s a no-brainer that sleep is vital for one’s health. That is why so many researchers study the best way to get good quality shut-eye. However, forget chamomile tea and meditating before bed. According to new research, women sleep better next to dogs. That’s right; Canisius College in New York State conducted a study that found that canines 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,” Christy Hoffman, Ph.D., animal behaviorist and 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 the participants shared their bed with at least one dog and 31% with at least one cat. Also, 57% of these women shared a bed with a human partner, while the rest did not. 
Hoffman also discovered why dogs seemed to make the best bed companions. The first reason is that dogs’ sleeping patterns, as opposed to cats, more closely resemble those of humans.
“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. However, while there may be benefits of these similar sleeping patterns, more research is needed to know for certain. But Hoffman has some ideas of how this could work.
“In comparison to human bed partners, dogs may be better at accommodating their human’s sleep schedule,” she said. “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.”
Moreover, dogs require certain schedules and responsibilities, such as a morning walk. This kind of regime helps their owners maintain a routine, improving sleep quality as a result.
Stillness and Security
Additionally, dogs tend to stay stiff as they sleep. Anyone who’s slept with a fidgety partner knows how disruptive they could be. However, women in the study reported that their dogs stayed on the bed most of the night instead of felines, 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.
Here’s the third and most important reason: Canines provide a sense of security to their owners. More so than with 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
However, while the study suggests that dogs are the perfect slumber buddies, their benefits are subjective to each case. For example, a dog could snore or make the bed too hot. Additionally, there are many owners who find that their cats help them sleep.
Keep in mind that the research was based on how the volunteers perceive their pets’ effects on their sleeping quality and duration. As a result, more objective research is needed to definitively consider dogs the superior sleeping partners. However, Hoffman believes that these studies could be beneficial as 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 in the opposite. Future research could use Fitbit-like devices to objectively track the sleep quality of people in different sleeping conditions.