It’s always nicer to sleep in sync with someone else. Occupying a bed alone may be a great way to stretch out, keep the covers all to yourself and remove any worries of disturbing anyone else, but it’s hard to argue with the notion that having someone lying beside you when you’re drifting off to sleep is a comforting sensation.
We here at Happy Beds we will always say that we’re happiest when sharing our beds, but that raises the biggest question; sharing it with whom?
Luckily the office didn’t deteriorate into a battle of whose dogs are better than whose partners, as we had conducted our very own sleep survey in early 2018 that supplied a cornucopia of quality information about the nation’s sleeping habits.
We asked you, the people, about all sorts of factors that help you sleep, how you sleep and with whom you sleep.
It was with this information that I, a non-biased moderator (as a single man who sadly does not have a dog yet), could start to look into the data and check out other research to see how ‘we’ fared when sharing the bed with both partners and pups.
Oh, and cats too, I guess.
Overall Stats: What Did Our Survey Find?
Our survey gained almost 3,000 responses, 2,065 of which reported that they slept with a partner, whereas only 278 stated that they slept with either a cat, a dog or both. These drastically different numbers may already suggest that the race is over, that the war has been won, but it’s not all about quantity; we’re looking at quality here.
By quality I mean ‘quality of sleeping’, such as how much sleep people get. When asked, 1,376 out of the 2,065 sleepers stated that when sleeping with their partner they sleep 6 to 10 hours a night, whereas 155 of the 278 sleepers that slept with a pet in bed reported that they got 6 to 10 hours sleep a night.
The stats show that 66.63% of those with partners get a good night’s sleep, whereas only 55.75% of those with pets manage to get more than 6 hours.
Now it seems like the battle’s been lost, but there are plenty of other studies that have been conducted to help shine some more definitive light on either side of the fence. Let’s start by studying the pets:
Pet Points: Research Reveals the Benefits of Sleeping with Animals
A study of over 10,000 participants was held at Queensland University, which found both benefits and disadvantages to letting your pet sleep on the bed with you. They stressed that this should only be done when you’ve properly trained your pets (well, dogs, really) as much like some sleepers, they can become convinced that the bed has become their territory.
The main pros the study outlined are reducing stress, granting a great sense of security, establishing a better emotional bond and just straight up warmth and comfort.
Many alternative studies have shown that contact with a pet can raise the level of oxytocin, charmingly known as the ‘love hormone’, and grants us as owners a greater level of comfort, which can help combat the likes of insomnia, depression and anxiety.
This element of pet ownership may be present most of the time outside of bed. But, when they are sleeping with you, it’s said that the rhythmic breathing of a pet’s body can help lull you to sleep.
The act of allowing a pup or a cat sleep in the bed also helps bridge the gap left in the wake of leaving them alone while you’re out at work. If they spend this time alone, letting them cuddle up with you can help make them feel like they’re closer to you and truly part of the family.
Less positive points include the possibility of increasing the risk of disease, causing asthma or allergic reactions, increasing the chances of interrupted sleeping patterns and, for those hedging their bets by having both partners and pets, interfering with intimacy for couples.
Of course, the former two are dependent on whether sleepers or their pets are healthy, whereas the latter two can be genuine concerns. However, they’re not unique to pets, as anyone who sleeps beside a snorer or someone who needs their space can attest.
Partner Pros: What Do Studies Say About Sleeping with Partners?
Of course, you’d be hard pressed to find many people outside of those that love has scorned or the most selfish of sleepers to seriously contest to the thought of sleeping with someone dear to them in bed.
As well as merely being delighted sharing the same space as someone you love, sleeping with a partner helps establish a feeling of security and has shown to lead to longer lives and better health for both sleepers.
This may be a correlating effect, but it’s hard to argue with so many studies that show a link. These notions are all the more reinforced when mental health is taken into account, as some studies have people suffering with anything from insomnia and depression to anxiety and even bi-polar tendencies sleep considerably better with a partner sharing the same bed.
The effects have been shown to be greater than with a pet, as although our furry friends can help calm us down, another sleeper can usually offer more comfort and reassurance if anything goes bump in the night, whether it’s literal or all in the mind.
There’s also the elephant in the room to mention - though I’m not entirely sure how child-friendly these articles are supposed to be. Oh, to hell with it! We all know the one advantage to having a human partner sleep in the same bed with you; they can be used to warm up cold feet.
Alright, in all seriousness, those who sleep together (yes, in that way, not literally) have reported that they sleep more soundly after doing the horizontal monster mash – women more so than men, though conventionally speaking this isn’t true.
The ladies themselves stated that after getting lucky they’ve woken up feeling more refreshed, even though during these studies it’s been shown that they actually sleep less soundly, often waking up throughout the night. Still, it’s hard to argue with their results.
At the end of the day it does seem like humans win out, but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to want to have a cute cat or a good pup sleeping with you. Whatever your preferences it’s doubtful that having either partner will disturb you too much. And, even if they do, they’ll surely have many more pros than cons.
How do you sleep? Do you have some adorable pets to snuggle up with or are you the master of spooning? Tweet us, let us know via Facebook and tag us on Instagram with your preferred sleeping partners!
Read more about how your animals sleep in our blog post, Revealed: How Animals Sleep!