Do Dogs in the Bedroom Help You Sleep Better?

The Mayo Clinic reports that people generally sleep better with their dogs in the bedroom. Is this true? Well, for me and my 200-plus pounds of dogs, I can enthusiastically report that the dogs seem to sleep better. But do I? Not so sure.

Before I go further, it is time I introduced you to my beasts.

Meet Wally, my basset hound

First meet Wally, my basset hound. She is usually sleeping because that is what basset hounds do.

Wally the basset hound sleeping with her head hanging off her bed

If I get up at night, I must be careful to step over Wally.  This is her favorite sleeping position. One of these photos was taken in the middle of the night, the other mid-day. Can you tell which is which?

Wally the basset hound sleeping with her head hanging off her bed

Yes, she often sleeps with her head hanging off her bed. It’s part of her charm. Despite her choice of positions, she is seriously the best sleeper in the house. She settles in for the night and typically sleeps soundly (and loudly).

Mornings are not her thing. She is the last to get out of bed and gives you the stink eye if you wake her up too early – and a basset stink eye is something to see. Yes, it is now 11 AM, and she is in the same exact position as the photo (ok- she rolled over).

Wally is the oldest and the boss. Bassets enjoy being in charge. Look how cute 8-weeks-old Wally was, almost 9 years ago. She was a sound sleeper then, too. She was always stepping on her long black ears. Did you know basset hound ears turn from black to brown as they age? 

Wally as a puppy

Meet Millie, my Newfoundland

Meet Millie, all 137 pounds of her. I LOVE Newfies. Love, love. love every inch of their warm cuddliness. (Wally can’t read, so I can write this.)

I even love Millie when she presents this obstacle to step over at 1 AM.

Millie the newfoundland sleeping on her back

This is typical. If I am lucky, I see her. If not, I run into her like a proverbial brick wall – all 137 pounds of her. It rarely seems to awaken her, though. Our family could put together a 100-page photo album of Millie blocking the path to somewhere we want to go. This is her hobby. We have all developed our own version of the “step over Millie” walk.

Look at Millie when we picked her up from the breeder almost 8 years ago. She weighed 8 pounds and fit in a grocery bag! She could walk underneath Wally. Of course, Wally’s belly wasn’t quite as close to the ground back then. Mine wasn’t either.

Millie as a puppy

All of these puppy photos are making me nostalgic. Maybe I need a puppy? No, I don’t Only joking.

Back to the “dogs sleeping in the bedroom” topic

I am digressing – what about sleeping with pets in the room? For sure, listening to the dogs’ sniffs, snorts, and snores fills me with happy, comfy feelings. But I don’t think it helps me sleep – at least some nights.

What about cats?

And what about cats? The study did not directly address cats, but most nights, I also have two cats in bed with me.  

Meet Opal, the queen bee

Opal sleeps near my head and enjoys just a bit of closeness – not too much. Dear Opal is the oldest pet in the house at 11 years. She was a little over 1 when I adopted her, and she had a rough life before coming home. It took her until this past year (yes, 9 years) before she would venture onto my lap to sleep. Now it is her favorite spot to relax – after my keyboard, of course. She is 100% “my” cat living exclusively upstairs in our house. She goes in and out through a window to the roof and never ventures downstairs.

Opal the cat

And last, but not least, there is Jim-Tu. She is the antipode to Opal. Jimmy’s opportunistic and will take any bed or lap available. She loves everyone – except Opal. If Jim-Tu sleeps on my bed, she is banished to its foot. Her favorite pastime is making territorial moves on Opal. I am not sure any of this night-time drama helps me sleep.

Jim-Tu the cat

And then there are the skunks and raccoons

Nightime in my bedroom can be busier than day time. When the dogs are in the bedroom, they may wake up to a varment in the yard and run out the dog door to protect the homestead. Wally sleeps like a rock unless she detects a threat. Then she is up in an instant giving her best and longest basset bark. 

Unfortunately, Millie is as likely to get a snout of skunk spray as she is to save us from intruders. Now that is fun to wake up to! A Millie snout of skunk spray in your face (because her head is at my face level when I am in bed). She always gets it right in the middle of her face and then has to come upstairs to tell me all about it.

Or sometimes our slumber is interrupted by the raccoon mother sauntering across the roof to my office window to show her raccoon babies the silly human and dogs inside. This show can last for over an hour as the raccoons seem to enjoy getting the dogs into a frenzy. They just chill on the roof like they are at a tourist stop. At least they only seem to visit in November.

These aren’t the best photos, but raccoons don’t like posing and I was pretty tired. But you get the drift.

Raccoons on the roof
3 raccoons looking in my window
raccoons on the roof

4 raccoon babies on the roof

Finally, there are the feline territorial challenges. Growl-hiss-spit! Or the nights Opal decides she needs to extrude a hairball, and I awaken to her retching about an inch from my ear. If I am lucky, I push her off the bed in time. If not, well…

At least I’m retired now, so if I end up awake half the night navigating the beasts, I can sleep in a bit or take a nap. Final verdict? Do I sleep better with the dogs and cats in the bedroom? Nope. Do I sleep (or not sleep) happier? Yep.  

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One Comment

  1. Hehe I feel the EXACT same way. Definitely sleep (or rather, don’t sleep) much worse now that I have cats. But I wouldn’t trade ’em!

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