Some nights, it's easier to sleep well when you have company — but the nature of that company can make a difference.
A new study finds that some women sleep more soundly if they share the bed with a dog instead of another person. Researchers from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, collected online survey data from 962 adult women in the United States. Their work was published in the journal Anthrozoös.
Of the participants, 55 percent shared their bed with at least one dog and 31 percent with at least one cat. In addition, 57 percent slept with a human partner. (There were likely women who slept with pets and people, but that wasn't detailed in the study.)
The researchers found that sleeping in the same bed with their dogs led women to a better night's rest than sleeping with a cat or with another person.
"Compared with human bed partners, dogs who slept in the owner's bed were perceived to disturb sleep less and were associated with stronger feelings of comfort and security," the study abstract reads. "Conversely, cats who slept in their owner's bed were reported to be equally as disruptive as human partners, and were associated with weaker feelings of comfort and security than both human and dog bed partners."
The study also found that dog owners typically went to bed and got up earlier than people who had cats, but no dogs.
The study's authors say more research is needed to see if pet owners' perceptions of how their furry friends impact their sleep actually line up with objective measures of sleep quality. But as far as they're concerned, dog owners think their pets are helping them sleep, so that's why they're welcome in the bed.