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The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment



      To objectively assess whether a dog in the bedroom or bed disturbs sleep.

      Participants and Methods

      From August 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015, we evaluated the sleep of humans and dogs occupying the same bedroom to determine whether this arrangement was conducive to sleep. The study included 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs (no dogs <6 months old). Each participant wore an accelerometer and their dog a validated dog accelerometer for 7 nights.


      The mean ± SD age of the participants (88% women) was 44±14 years and body mass index was 25±6. The mean ± SD age of the dogs was 5±3 years and weight was 15±13 kg. Mean ± SD actigraphy data showed 475±101 minutes in bed, 404±99 minutes total sleep time, 81%±7% sleep efficiency, and 71±35 minutes wake time after sleep onset. The dogs' accelerometer activity during the corresponding human sleep period was characterized as mean ± SD minutes at rest, active, and at play of 413±102, 62±43, and 2±4. The dogs had mean ± SD 85%±15% sleep efficiency. Human sleep efficiency was lower if the dog was on the bed as opposed to simply in the room (P=.003).


      Humans with a single dog in their bedroom maintained good sleep efficiency; however, the dog's position on/off the bed made a difference. A dog's presence in the bedroom may not be disruptive to human sleep, as was previously suspected.
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