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Sharing A Bed With Your Dog For Better Health

Sharing A Bed With Your Dog For Better Health

By Mary-Jane Gallagher.

Raise your hand if you let your dog sleep in bed with you at night? With an estimated 9.1 million dogs in South Africa, it is safe to assume that millions of other hands are raised right alongside yours. Having a warm snuggly body in our beds is comforting to say the least, but is there more to the story than just how great it makes us feel? Can sleeping with your dog actually have a positive impact on your health?

Improved Quality of Sleep

The latest research from the Mayo Clinic found that sleeping with your dog can actually improve the quality of your sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep leads to clearer thinking, improved mood and immune system function, increased performance at work, and better grades at school. On the flip side, insufficient sleep has been linked to an increased risk of the development of a myriad of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even life expectancy.

Oxytocin Reduces Stress

Unfortunately, most of us deal with stressful situations far too frequently in our daily lives. When you snuggle up to your beloved pet your body releases a powerful hormone called oxytocin. Commonly called the “love” or “cuddle” hormone, oxytocin reduces the level of cortisol, the “stress” hormone, in your body. Less cortisol means a more relaxed body, lower blood pressure, and a healthier you.

Helps with Anxiety and Depression

Those with anxiety and depression can find relief by choosing to sleep in bed with their dog. A dog can ease anxiety in by bringing a sense of calm and security, particularly at night when worries tend to invade our minds. The comfort, closeness, unconditional love, and feeling of connection we receive when sleeping with our pets can help people with depression during especially difficult times.

Reduce Allergic Reactions

This health benefit only works if instituted in childhood. If you or your child are exposed to dog hair and dander early in life, you or your child will be less likely to develop an allergic reaction to those stimulants later in life. Avoiding the stimulant makes our bodies less able to combat it so early frequent exposure is the key to less sneezing and suffering in adulthood.

Whether you choose to crate, room share, or invite your dog into your bed at night is an individual decision that only you can make. If it makes you and your furry friend happy you can rest easy with the knowledge that it can also help keep you healthy, too!