Dogs Sleeping in Your Bed: Good or Bad for Your Health?

A new study from the Mayo Clinic takes a closer look at the whole topic surrounding "dozing off with your dog."

It's a topic that sometimes has sleep experts and veterinarians divided.

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey took a closer look at this new research Monday with help from Geisinger Family Doctor Anthony Wylie.

The bottom line of the new study is that researchers found no major disruption of sleep when a dog was in the same room with its owner and conked out on the floor of the room.

However, people's sleep was disturbed when the pet actually slept in the same bed with its owner.

Click here to read the entire study.

The following tips to help you improve your sleep are provided by Geisinger Health System:

How much sleep should we be getting?

  • As a general rule, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel fully rested and alert during the day. This is also the case for people age 65 or older.
  • Children and teens need about nine to 11 hours of sleep.

Tips for better sleep:

  • Wake up at the same time every day, and exercise and eat at set times.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Read a book, take a warm bath, listen to soothing music or do something that helps you relax and unwind from your day the last hour before you go to bed.
  • Make your room a sleep haven. Keep the bedroom dark, quiet, comfortable and cool for the best sleep possible. Keep your thermostat between 60 to 67 degrees at night and make sure your room is free of any noise or light that could disturb your sleep.
    • No reading or watching TV at bedtime; save your bed for sleep.
    • If you're not asleep in 15 minutes, get up and do something else for 15 minutes, then come back to bed, turn out the lights and try again for another 15 minutes. Keep doing this until your body naturally slips into sleep.
  • Spend time outdoors and in sunlight. Exposure to daylight helps regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
  • Make lifestyle adjustments. Try eliminating caffeine after 12 p.m. and avoid eating a huge meal or snack before bedtime. Similarly, avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Although alcohol can make you feel sleepy, when its initial effects wear off it can make you wake up more often throughout the night.
  • Exercise each day, preferably early in the day. Exercising in late afternoon, evening or before bedtime may inhibit you falling asleep.
  • Avoid afternoon naps. Short naps that are no longer than 20 minutes at a time can help refresh the brain, but when a nap goes longer than 20 minutes it risks going into a deeper stage of sleep, which can throw off the internal clock that keeps track of days and nights.
  • In addition to medications, talk to your doctor about any medical problems that are disturbing your sleep, such as depression, anxiety, arthritis or bladder problems that force you to go to the bathroom frequently at night.

Why is getting a good night’s rest so important?

  • It reduces risk of serious health conditions
    • In the short term, not getting enough sleep can lead to a lack of alertness and impaired memory. The moodiness caused by a lack of sleep can cause relationship stress, making you more likely to have conflicts with others.
    • In the long term, not getting enough sleep can put you at an increased risk for serious health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Insufficient sleep has also been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Sleep affects your body’s hormone levels and ability to regulate and metabolize glucose (blood sugar). Over time, not getting enough sleep could cause a higher than normal blood sugar level, thus increasing your risk of diabetes.
  • It gives you better control over your weight
    • Multiple studies show that people who sleep less are more likely to be obese. Sleep helps you maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full.
    • Getting plenty of sleep keeps these hormones in check, making you less likely to overeat, binge or gain weight. Being well rested also means you’ll have the energy to exercise or cook a healthy meal at the end of the workday.
  • You may not need to go to the doctor as frequently
    • Proper sleep means you may be less likely to call your doctor for a sick visit. Your immune system relies on you getting sleep to stay healthy. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way your immune system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances.
    • Studies have shown that people who get seven hours of sleep or less are almost three times more likely to get sick than people who get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  • You’re less prone to injury
    • When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to have a household accident, such as cutting yourself while slicing vegetables, falling down the stairs or tripping over a toy – and those types of accidents can be serious. Also, being well rested can potentially reduce your risk of a car accident.

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